Tools you can use right away; change that lasts a lifetime. This is what participants of the Arizona Transformational Leadership Program have gained. Eight executives recently completed the first cohort of the program, which included 11 days of training over a six-month period.
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 Council President & CEO Steven G. Zylstra first approached me, I was the facilitator and lead of the Council’s CEO Network for Phoenix. When we spoke about offering its members opportunities to improve their leadership skills to make them more competitive, I suggested developing a Transformational Leadership Program. Modeled after the Georgetown University program that I completed, I moved forward with putting together a top-rated faculty to offer the same world-class experience and opportunity to those living and working in the Southwest.
People often say the word “leadership” when they are really talking about management. Many programs teach people how to be managers but there are few that guide executives and leaders on 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 is between transactional leadership—effectively and efficiently getting things done, and keeping the ships running—and transformational leadership—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.
Transformational leadership provides a new framework of thinking for leading self, leading others and leading organizations. This program is designed for executives and leaders who have the functional skills and are succeeding but know there must be a better way—a different way or less exhausting way—to do and be what they imagine.
As the first cohort completes the program, Kathryn Odland, president at Global Patent Solutions, says the program far exceeded her expectations. “After more than 10 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,” says 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 it was indeed transformational for him—a great deal of work but totally worth it.
“Having participated in other programs that were light on substance and little more than organized pep rallies, I was extremely skeptical at the outset,” says Forkner. “But I’ve been blown away and 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.”
Matt’s GoDaddy colleague, Christine Cross, vice president of Domains, called the program an important opportunity for self-awareness, especially if you already think of yourself as a good leader. Like Forkner, Cross thought the program was very hands-on and not just “listening to other people talk.” Cross adds: “It’s not easy. People who apply to the program should be ready to make a deep commitment to their own futures.”
For myself, it’s rewarding to watch the growth and true transformation of the participants over the course of the program. They may start out with a healthy dose of skepticism but through the experiences and tools that the talented faculty provide, the executives and leaders evolve over the course of the program from good transactional leaders to amazing, powerful transformational leaders. It is fun to watch!
Applications are now being accepted for the next cohort that begins Sept. 28, 2016. Additional information available at AZTransformationalLeadership.com includes dates for the next cohort program, details and tuition, and the application.
Margo Boster is the CEO, ImpaQ Solutions, and co-founder and program director, Arizona Transformational Leadership Program.