Be Part of Transforming Leadership

by Margo Boster

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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