A New Leadership Development Program for Alumni
Ten Institute for Conservation Leadership (ICL) program alumni gathered virtually over the course of two days to talk about the major issues that are exciting them about their work, the leadership skills they are leaning in to and the challenges that they are seeing as their organizations intersect with multiple coalitions and networks.
ICL is in the midst of designing Renewing Your Leadership, a leadership development program designed for our program alumni. Using a human-centered design framework, we are engaging potential participants to help shape the content and approach for the program. The two sessions in June were a first step in that process. Other inputs that we are considering as we frame the program is an alumni survey we completed last year, as well as A Changing Landscape: Future Leadership for the Great Lakes, the report ICL summarizing the research ICL completed with leaders in the Great Lakes region.
Building Self Awareness and Confidence
Alumni tell us that they appreciate the greater self awareness they build through ICL programs, the peer networks and connections they form and the increased confidence they have in tackling the challenges they face every day on the job.
During the two sessions we hosted, alumni talked about a wide variety of issues. These are some of the themes that emerged. Session participants discussed their own personal challenge of balancing the demands of management with the aspiration of leadership, of having difficult conversations with colleagues, how to keep learning and stay sharp, how to build and leverage your influence strategically, as well as how to lead from the side when you are leading peers.
Managing Multiple Communications and Work styles
At the organizational level, alumni described the challenges of creating good systems for internal communications, the differing work styles and expectations across the three generations in the workforce and underestimated time one needs to spend managing staff from hiring to retention as well as the impacts of major leadership transitions.
More Networks, New Partners
Managing a growing number of networks and coalitions, many now donor directed was another theme among alumni participants. While these networks can create great value, some, when participation is not entirely voluntary, can take a lot of time to manage and create the expected value.
Alumni described their excitement with new partnerships that their organizations are creating using a community conservation lens. These new ventures require new perspectives and skills and new ways of thinking about the benefits of the work their organizations are doing — switching the emphasis from conservation to health for example.
These topics echo the themes from A Changing Landscape: Future Leadership for the Great Lakes. Those were:
• Community-Connected Advocacy
• Strategic Collaboration
• Effective Organizations
• Diversity and Inclusion
• Environmental and Conservation Careers
• Executive Succession and Transition
Co-creation, Part II
We will be holding a series of virtual sessions with alumni to test our assumptions about content areas and program features in late July. We will also be conducting a brief survey.
As you read about what your colleagues are saying about their work, what resonates with you? Are you facing similar challenges and getting energy from similar possibilities?