BY THOMAS GREEK
As learning and development (L&D) professionals, we must recognize the importance of engaging leaders of our respective organization to be a part of leadership and employee development programs. For this reason, Navy Federal Credit Union created the “Follow the Leader” series of programs and events designed to provide experiential development opportunities. In addition, Navy Federal Credit Union is an eight-time Learning! 100 Award winner. While the details of each offering below is tailored to our specific learning needs, they may be adapted to fit your own organization’s specific employee development program.
The series is led and facilitated by operational leaders representing all areas of the enterprise, as well as L&D staff. Following are seven offerings, which include:
>> Leadership Roundtables – Leadership Roundtables are comprised of a selection of resources curated for leaders to use in facilitating professional development discussions with members of their teams. Each roundtable includes a professional article or video related to the Navy Federal leadership values, a summary of the topic and discussion questions for the leader to use in facilitating a conversation.
>> Workshops – An executive leader hosts and facilitates each session that is full of challenging activities, case studies and videos that help improve working relationships and, in turn, enhance the member experience.
>> Book Club – This part of the series is designed for anyone in a leadership role and is a great way to reinforce valuable leadership behaviors. Leaders are provided with a selected title, then come together for thought-provoking conversation and to hear examples of leadership in action from their colleagues.
>> Senior Leader Panel – Junior leaders gather for a facilitated panel discussion with senior leaders as they discuss their career choices, mentors they admire, political savvy and other important topics.
>> Bright Spots – The idea is to seek out effective practices from within the organization and come together to share in order to duplicate them in other areas of the organization.
>> Storytellers – Preserving our culture one story at a time, these short videos feature leaders discussing different leadership topics and telling their story of leadership lessons learned. These inspiring videos are available on the organization’s intranet for all employees to view, including employees who may be pursuing or are new to a leadership role.
>> Boot Camp – This leadership program teaches “recruits” (participants) the importance of incorporating team building into their work groups. Facilitators, clad in camouflage, lead recruits through simulated exercises. Teamwork, problem-solving, effective communication and active listening are a few of the topics addressed during the event.
The Follow the Leader Series not only builds a capable workforce, but it also creates confidence and trust between leaders and employees. These offerings are regularly rated as 95% to 100% valuable to participants. I hope these examples will help you develop your own Follow the Leader Series that is sure to enhance your organization’s overall learning strategies.
— Thomas Greek is Vice President of Learning and Development at Navy Federal Credit Union.