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What is The Leadership Challenge? [Video Interview]


We were honored to attend HR.Com's LEAD2016 this year and take home awards in both the "Top Leadership Provider" and "Best Global/International Leadership Program" categories for The Leadership Challenge Workshop.

During the awards ceremony, our colleague Bruce Wilson was interviewed and provided a descriptive and succinct overview of the history, research, and benefits that make The Leadership Challenge one of the most trusted and effective leadership programs available today. Check out the 5 minute interview and transcript.


Voting is now open for the LEAD2017 Awards! Will you Vote for The Leadership Challenge?

History and Core Concepts:

FlashPoint is the number one provider of The Leadership Challenge Workshop® worldwide. We do more of these workshops than anyone in the world.

It might be helpful to give you a brief overview of the history, core concepts and research behind The Leadership Challenge®.

Very briefly, The Leadership Challenge® started as a book nearly 30 years ago. It's now in it's fifth edition, considered by many to be among the three or four most influential leadership books ever written, with over 2,000,000 copies sold.

It's based on 30 years of research where the researchers and authors, Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner, went out and looked for the practices and behaviors that people look for in the leaders that they would willingly want to follow.

They found across culture, gender, ethnicity, generations and industry that there were basically five practices people look for in leaders they'd willing want to follow. Those are:

  • Model the Way, which speaks to a leader's credibility, does this leader lead by example, do they walk their talk, etc.
  • Inspire a Shared Vision, which has to do with a leader's ability to articulate a compelling vision and engender buy-in for that vision on the part of team members.
  • Challenge the Process, which has to do with the leader's ability to create the environment within which innovation can take hold.
  • Enable Others to Act, which has do with the leader's ability to foster collaboration, build trust, and through that develop new leaders in the organization.
  • Finally, Encourage the Heart, which again has to do with the leader's ability to provide morale-building recognition and motivation on a consistent and relevant basis, again raising levels of engagement and commitment on the part of their team members.

All of that was developed into one- or two-day workshops, using all the modalities of 21st century adult learning: Lecture, discussion, personal reflection, but primarily experiential activity.

It's supported by a highly validated 360 degree assessment called the The Leadership Practices Inventory® (360) or LPI® for short, which measures the frequency of 30 behaviors that demonstrate those five practices - six behaviors for each of the five practices.

The LPI® can be complemented by up to five narrative or essay questions that can be customized to give further feedback to your leaders.

The research shows us that leaders who then go out and more frequently demonstrate those behaviors are perceived as:

  • More credible on the part of their team members as leaders,
  • They're able again to raise levels of engagement and commitment on the part of team members, and probably most important,
  • They're more likely to be leading a high-performance team, a more efficacious team, a team more likely to achieve their targeted objectives.

The Leadership Challenge® and ROI:

In terms of ROI, research has consistently shown that organizations whose senior leadership teams more strongly, more consistently apply the five practices exhibit much higher percentages of net income and stock price growth. 

Lessons Learned:

Very often we're asked what are the lessons learned in the last year? Actually, the lesson learned in the last year is the same lesson we learn every year, which is that leadership is a lifelong journey, it's a process not an event.

Reinforcing and Embedding the Learning: 

After the workshop we have many reinforcement tools, and what we really encourage people to do is after having people take their initial, or having the leaders take there initial LPI® assessment, to have them retake the assessment nine to twelve months later.

Now they have a benchmark assessment to compare to the original baseline assessment and they can measure their progress over the intervening nine to twelve months.

That gives them not only measurement, but let's face it, if leaders know they're going to be reassessed, they're more likely to keep their leadership plan top of mind, so it's also reinforcing it.

Going Forward: Open Enrollment Sessions in Sonoma, California

Finally, in the next year, what do we plan to do? We plan to work with the global firms throughout the year, and we do hold four open enrollment sessions a year up in beautiful Sonoma, California.

They are four days long - The first two days are for people who like to go through the workshop, become better leaders, second two days for those who like to become facilitator trained, bring the learning back into their organization.

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Lauren Parkhill

Lauren Parkhill is FlashPoint’s brand engagement strategist. She curates web, email, and social content to help organizations develop their leaders and teams.