Our board member Sharlyn Lauby recently introduced me to the Learning and Organizational Development team for Broward County (Florida). The team of Ruth Myles, Susan DellCioppia, and Mona Gordon were awarded the Gold prize by the South Florida ASTD chapter’s 2013 Champions of Workplace Learning event for their innovative approach to management development. Management development is critical in all organizations, yet is often the victim of budget cuts or lack of time. This was the case in Broward County in 2012.
The team recognized that leaders and managers had drifted away from formal classroom learning and were only participating in mandatory County-specific programs. In August of 2012, they kicked off a year-long pilot program focused on customized and self-directed Leadership Roundtable events. Twenty-five leaders were invited to participate in five learning groups. Each group had representation from different divisions throughout the County, offering a welcoming learning environment among new peers. The group expectations were to meet at least quarterly, identify specific learning interests, and share ideas with peers. With coaching and guidance from the LOD team, internally certified facilitators managed the small group meeting process. A wide variety of topics and learning methodologies were experienced throughout the year. Nearly all the groups had full participation and attendance at every event. And all of this was accomplished with little incremental expenditure as the teams were leveraging internal experts and resources for much of their content.
As a result, leadership skills were enhanced, networking relationships were developed, and ideas and resources were exchanged. When asked why they would recommend this learning experience to another County leader, one participant’s reply was, “It allows participants to design their own training and provides a forum for leaders to brainstorm and reflect on how to be a good leader.” Another noted the training “Provided invaluable contacts throughout Broward County; Others have knowledge and are willing to share, we don’t have to reinvent the wheel… just spin it a little.”
I asked the team to answer a few questions about their program, and especially about what worked well and what they’ll improve on in the next round of the program. You can listen to a podcast of our conversation here:
What are innovative approaches your organization has used to coach managers for improved performance?