At Teleos, we believe that the best way to build leadership skills is to link training and coaching directly with performance. One of the most powerful ways to make this link is through what we call a strategic initiative. A strategic initiative is any project where you combine strategic problem solving and focused leadership development, with the goal of sustainable success on both solutions and skill building.
These projects come in all shapes and sizes, but they all follow a similar process.
- identify strategic leaders as sponsors
- define the project’s scope and goals
- assign the project team, based on both current capability and growth potential
- combine a systemic problem solving process with “just-in-time” skill training and skill implementation coaching
- develop recommendations and present them to the sponsors
- implement recommendations, if approved
When to Use Initiatives
Initiatives are useful any time leaders face a specific and critical organizational challenge such as implementing a new strategy, launching a new product, integrating an acquisition, resolving a conflict between functions, or even helping a new leader build his/her team.
Initiatives are also very useful as the vehicle to develop diverse and/or high potential talent. Instead of more traditional approaches such as networking or speakers, initiative team members get the opportunity to work on an important and high profile problem, they get access to strategic sponsors, and they get skill training and coaching to help them learn critical leadership skills.
Roles and Responsibilities
Teleos will perform several useful tasks during the project.
- facilitate the problem solving process, using our skills to frame problems, validate information, surface and resolve conflicts, and test commitment
- assess team members’ capabilities against skill requirements
- train leadership skills as they become relevant for the project
- coach team members as they apply the new skills to problem solving and solution implementation
- surface and address roadblocks to effective skill use
But, the strategic sponsors play a vital role in the project’s success.
- identify and scope the problem, so team members have a real opportunity to produce a useful recommendation
- select the right team members
- monitor progress
- remove roadblocks to success
- help coach team members
Obviously, the primary benefit is to solve the client’s strategic problem, but the secondary benefits are also extremely useful.
One such benefit is the availability of a skilled and cohesive team that can be assigned to other important business challenges.
Another important benefit is the team members’ sustainable improvement in strategic perspective and skills. A deep body of research supports our personal experience that this type of “just-in-time” training and coaching increases the probability that participants will use the skills effectively both over time and in more situations.
The final benefit is the opportunity to leave your organization with a repeatable process for solving strategic problems and building critical leadership skills.