ChangeWise Leadership Development Programs

The need for agile leadership

Today’s companies face a business context that has no precedent. Today’s leaders must navigate an unrelenting “VUCA” environment that is volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous.

It is now widely understood that the core capacity needed by today’s leaders is “agility.” In fact, according to a recent global survey, executives now believe that leadership agility is the most valuable skill-set for their company’s leaders to have.

But what, exactly, is leadership agility? How do you assess it, and how can you put your leaders on the path to the kind of agility that will make them more effective in today’s turbulent world?

Drawing on extensive research and decades of work with leaders, we offer a highly effective, flexible leadership development program that reliably results in new levels of leadership agility and effectiveness.

Three levels of leadership agility

Our research shows that managers can grow through a series of  learnable "agility levels" that are  rooted in  well-documented stages of personal development:

  • Expert:  Leading incremental improvements by using one’s authority and expertise, supervising direct reports, and engaging in focused problem-solving.
  • Achiever:  Leading by motivating others and gaining buy-in to achieve strategic change objectives, orchestrating team performance, working across boundaries, and  stepping up to challenging conversations.
  • Catalyst:  Leading transformative change, developing agile organizations and highly engaged teams, and     collaborating with others to develop creative, high-leverage solutions to thorny  organizational issues.

Currently, only about 10% of managers have developed the cognitive and emotional capacities needed to lead from this level of agility.

Backbone of our programs

The core of the program we offer has two powerful components:

  • Our Leadership Agility 360 feedback and action-planning process
  • Leadership Agility Coaching

Both core components are based on the research-based model presented in our award-winning book, Leadership Agility, which has been called “the new gold standard in the leadership field.”

Competency models tell us what worked well in the past. But this new model illuminates a vital forward looking question: 

What does effective leadership look like in an unprecedented era, where the pace of change is accelerating and success requires management of increasingly   complex relationships?

Our leadership development programs begin with an interactive orientation, followed by administration of the Leadership Agility 360, which is followed by a coaching process.

Four Types of Leadership Agility

In addition to leadership agility levels, the Leadership Agility 360 assesses four mutually reinforcing types of agility:

  • Context-setting agility:  The extent to which the changes a leader undertakes are tactical versus strategic or even visionary
  • Stakeholder agility:  How completely a leader understands and creates alignment with stakeholders whose views and objectives differ from their own
  • Creative agility:  How insightful and creative a leader is in analyzing and solving the complex, novel problems generated in today’s turbulent business environments.
  • Self-leadership agility:  How proactive a leader is in seeking feedback and in experimenting with more effective behaviors

Using “Action Arenas” to put Feedback in Context

Traditional 360s assess abstract competencies that don’t reference to the contexts within which they need to be applied. The items in the Leadership Agility 360 are context-specific, which makes the feedback much easier to understand and utilize. These specific contexts or “action arenas” include leading organizational change, leading teams, and “pivotal” conversations.

Within each arena, there are 8 quantitative questions and 2 written-comment questions (strengths and needs for improvement). The Feedback Report is concise, intuitive, and easy to digest, providing a highly specific “road map” of the next steps in a leader’s development. As one leader put it, “I’ve worked with many feedback reports that are way, way too long. This is the first leader-friendly 360 I’ve ever worked with.”

Coach-Facilitated 360 Process

Each participant is guided through the 360 process by a senior coach, certified to administer the Leadership Agility 360. This process includes a series of three conversations:

  • Orientation
  • Debrief
  • Action Planning

Each participant is given a Development Planner to record insights throughout the 360 process. The Planner includes a  powerful Action Plan template. With their coach’s help, each participant uses this template to translate their feedback into highly specific behavior and mindset changes they can apply to their everyday leadership initiatives.

Leadership Agility Coaching

ChangeWise has a world-wide network of seasoned leadership coaches. The coaches we use for our leadership development programs are also certified in our Leadership Agility Coaching methodology, which helps leaders grow from problem-solving Experts into strategic, team-building Achievers and into capacity-building Catalysts, who can develop agile organizations.

Facilitated peer coaching groups

One-on-one coaching can be followed by facilitated peer coaching groups that support sustained development of new behaviors and mindsets.

Leadership Agility workshops

Coaching can be followed with one or more Leadership Agility workshop or workshop modules. These highly interactive workshops take participants on a deep dive into one of the three “action arenas” - leading organizational change, creating high-performing teams, and pivotal conversations.

Short, targeted webinars

These are 30-minute recorded webinars that participants can view on-demand. Topics can include how to lead effectively in each of the three “arenas” described above, and/or how to practice the four types of agility: Context-setting, stakeholder, creative, and self-leadership agility.

Let's talk about your Leadership Development needs

To arrange a conversation, contact Debra Whitestone at [email protected]