American Express Leadership AcademyLast month, I attended the American Express Leadership Academy along with three of my colleagues from Signature Theatre. The Leadership Academy is one of American Express’ corporate social responsibility initiatives designed to give “high potential emerging leaders” the resources to become successful executives and to assist with the growth of nonprofit organizations. Facilitated in partnership with the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL), a top-ranked global provider of leadership development, the week-long boot camp included analysis and discussion of a 360 degree evaluation and several self-assessments, as well as the opportunity to network with fellow nonprofit leaders, to hear from a variety of notable speakers, and to meet one-on-one with an executive coach.

There are so many useful frameworks, including the SBI feedback model, that were discussed during the program that are more articulately described in articles written by CCL; but I wanted to share a couple of my key takeaways:

  • Prior to the Leadership Academy, attendees were asked to fill out various self-assessments such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, the Change Style Indicator, and the FIRO-B (Fundamental Interpersonal Relations Orientation – Behavior) Assessment. During the program, attendees received their assessment results and discussed them in small and large group exercises. Although it was interesting to read about the results, I found it more valuable to discuss the preferences and styles of people who were on the opposite end of the spectrum. People approach work (and life) in their own way. You may not agree or like the way they do things, but it’s important to understand that they’re not you. How can you recognize the differences between you and your colleagues? And how can you use that knowledge to inform your interactions with them?
  • Throughout the course of the week, there was time set aside every day for individual reflection and individual goal setting. Although it might seem impossible to take a break from doing your job, it’s essential to carve out the time to do this personal work. I can’t imagine doing this every day, but my plan is to start with weekly reflection and see how that goes. I’m not sure what I’ll be using that time for, but current ideas include reviewing some of the frameworks discussed during the program, writing down what I liked or disliked about my words/actions/interactions from the week prior, and working on long-term goals.

Have you attended a leadership development program or workshop? If so, what were your key takeaways? Please let me know with a comment or message me at @cecileoreste.

 

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