ImpaQ Success Tips

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 is available at AZTransformationalLeadership.com includes dates for the next cohort program, details and tuition, and the application.

Published in Arizona Business Magazine July 11, 2016

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Executives used to think leadership was simply a matter of daily tasks, people, and cash management. But in environments of rapid change, true leaders must motivate employees to participate in and contribute to a shared vision, often through periods of disruption. When a leader takes a company successfully into new ways of thinking, new markets, and new products, that leadership is called transformational.

We hear about this in visionaries like Mark Zuckerberg and Reid Hoffman, but can we create such transformational leaders in Arizona? Now we can.

The Arizona Technology Council has partnered with ImpaQ Solutions to bring a Transformational Leadership Program to Arizona, where venture capitalists have long complained about the dearth of competent leadership teams in local growth companies.

This program takes people who are already good leaders and steps their games up even further. The first cohort is just completing the program, and according to Matthew Forkner, deputy general counsel at GoDaddy, 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,” 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.”

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 transformationalleadership@aztechcouncil.org.

Published In Phoenix Business Journal June 2, 2016

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