Leadership Development Institute

One of the most stimulating weeks of my life was spent at Eckerd Leadership Institute some years back. Having been through many different team building exercises I was a bit skeptical of more of the same, having come to the belief that team building takes more of a mental attitude than can actually be taught. I was wrong, this particular week’s agenda was tightly organized and the staff was extraordinarily competent. I have very few experiences that I would agree were life changing, becoming a husband, dad, and coach would qualify. So would LDI.

It begins with an unbelievable amount of assessment tests that are all sent to the Institute staff well ahead of arrival. The participant self assesses, the direct reports, peers, and  boss also  extensively evaluate the participant and send them in. So when one arrives the staff has a complete profile of how you see yourself charted with how the other groups see you on the same criteria. The goal is to help the participant perform a swat analysis that will help build self awareness and make changes or shifts in areas of disconnects.

The class I attended was international in make up, with classmates from Asia, Europe, and the USA. They were mid and upper level management. Everyone convened on Monday Morning in a get acquainted meeting and then the exercises began. As the program evolved the individual assessments are gradually introduced and explained in a general sense so that participants can understand the data they are receiving. Some of it requires alone time to recover from the shock of how big the gap is between how you see yourself and how others see you. The exercises intensify each day but they are all quite stimulating also. By day 5 the small core groups that each has been assigned to from day 1 meet for 360 feedback. There were 5 in my group. One person left the room and the other 4 compared notes on what they wanted to say about that person’s behavior. That can be pretty personal and intense. Then that afternoon is spent with a psychologist who reviews everything in a 3 hour one on one and the week ends. The idea is to take all that feedback back to the boss and peers and review it. Then take the opportunity areas and make them a part of performance metrics.

The biggest disappointment of the week is leaving all these great people you have come to know and go back to your existing work environment. All of us wanted to build a company with the classmates who we now knew very well.

I recommend anyone who has some time left in the workplace that would justify your employer footing the bill try to enroll, it will be well worth it to you and your employer. I liked it so much and got so much value out of it I went back for the Advanced Leadership Program a couple of years later. It helped me professionally and personally as I went over it with my wife too. The kids weren’t too interested.



3 Responses

  1. So, you walked the grounds that I once walked…and ruled! Many memories there.

  2. Yes the Eckerd Campus is quite pleasant. It was a great experience as I said.

  3. The Eckerd campus was much more pleasant before they starting using the ground for spraying waterwater..lol! In summer, it stinks! (Unless they stop spraying.)

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