Next week, eight local executives are completing the first cohort of the Arizona Transformational Leadership Program. For the past six months, the leaders have attended 11 days of classroom, received one-on-one executive coaching, and gained invaluable insight through assessments and feedback. A common message we hear from the participants is that the program is, indeed, transformational – a great deal of work, but totally worth it.
Open to executives and senior leaders from all industries and areas, the program was co-created by the Arizona Technology Council and ImpaQ Solutions. When Steve Zylstra, President & CEO of the Arizona Technology Council, first approached Margo Boster, CEO of ImpaQ Solutions, she was the facilitator and lead of the Council’s CEO Network for Phoenix. Looking for opportunities to improve their members’ leadership skills and make them more competitive, Margo suggested developing a Transformational Leadership Program.
Many programs teach people how to be managers, but there are few that guide executives and leaders how to be true leaders. The Arizona Transformational Leadership Program teaches executives and senior managers how to make a positive difference and become authentic leaders.
“The difference,” Margo says, “is between Transactional Leadership, which includes effectively and efficiently getting things done, and keeping the ships running; vs. Transformational Leadership which encompasses being a visionary, motivating, creating the future, and trust-based relationships. In today’s fast paced, ever changing world just being effective and efficient aren’t enough.”
Participants of the program agree. Kathryn Odland, president at Global Patent Solutions said the program far exceeded her expectations. “After more than ten successful years as president, I was looking for a leadership program in which I could immerse myself to enhance myself and my company. The Arizona Transformational Leadership Program provides tremendous self-reflection, so much that I became amazed at some gaps between my perception and the perception of others in my organization,” said Odland. “The coaches and module presenters are top notch. This program taught me valuable fundamental lessons that have created a true mental shift in how I function as a leader. Lessons are both quickly implementable and lasting for continued self-development for me and my team.”
Matthew Forkner, deputy general counsel at GoDaddy, says “Having participated in other programs that were light on substance and little more than organized pep rallies, I was extremely skeptical at the outset,” said Forkner. “But I’ve been blown away and very very impressed with the program. It created a greater awareness in me of my strengths and weaknesses and gave me very clear guidance on what I can do as a leader moving forward.”
Forkner was especially impressed with the tools the program provided; he said he was able to apply what he learned in the program immediately, and has already seen the results. “One of the tools the program gave me is how to have more control day-to-day over my emotions and my reactions in situations like having a difficult conversation with one of my direct reports. Now I know how to map that out in advance, set specific outcomes, and have those tough conversations instead of avoiding them.”
Matt’s GoDaddy colleague, Christine Cross, vice president of Domains, also felt the tools were impressive, but said the 360 feedback and the coaching she received were invaluable. She also called the program an important opportunity for self-awareness, especially if you already think of yourself as a good leader.
“The most profound thing I tried to learn and apply is mindfulness,” said Cross. “The notion of meeting people where they are, knowing your responsibility, and being aware of how you are engaging with them. Are you opening the possibilities of discussion, or shutting them down? It boils down to two words: mindfulness and intentionality.”
Like Forkner, Cross thought the program was very hands-on, and not just “listening to other people talk.”
“It’s not easy,” Cross added. “People who apply to the program should be ready to make a deep commitment to their own futures.”
The Arizona Technology Council is proud to have partnered with ImpaQ Solutions to bring such a transformative opportunity to the area. Applications are now being accepted for the next six-month program, designed for executives and senior leaders who are succeeding but suspect there must be better ways to do and be what they imagine. If you’d like to apply or nominate a senior leader or executive from your company, read more at http://aztransformationalleadership.com or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.