One of the greatest opportunities I had when working for Pfizer was to be included in an executive leadership development program conducted in Sandwich, U.K. All IT executives, Director level and higher, attended a multi-week program taught by Steve Buchholtz, author of "Creating the High Performance Team" published by Wiley in 1987. That's where I developed my leadership framework. Our VP at the time was a great advocate for leadership development. And so am I, since attending the Leadership Development Program at the Center for Creative Leadership in Goldsboro, NC. In fact, it's one of my passions. That program literally rescued my career from the fast path to destruction. It taught me about the power of self-awareness and the mighty gift that is feedback. I learned that people are not often aware of the impact their words and attitudes can have on others. It doesn't matter what level you are in an organization or how well you think you are performing. The pure truth is, how people perceive you is your reality, whether you agree or not. People can be taught leadership skills. People can change. I am living proof.
Along my leadership development journey, I attended a six-month long online program from Villanova University for Strategic Organizational Leadership. One of the classes taught us about developing a leadership compass for ourselves. A leadership compass is a self-reflective tool that provides an understanding into different work styles relative to team work. It allows us to understand our skills and weaknesses more thoroughly. The leadership framework takes the leadership compass concept to new heights. It defines, in your own words, who you are as a leader. Think of the leadership framework as a leadership compass on steroids. If you’re not familiar with the notion of a leadership framework, the document I wrote is my response to the following challenge which can be found in the materials provided by Mr. Buccholz:
Imagine for a minute that you have to prepare a resume where you can’t highlight the college you attended, what degrees you hold, your work experience or the project achievements you have had up to this point. The only data you can put on your resume pertains to who you are as a leader and what you have demonstrated. How would the resume read?
I've used this very question when interviewing candidates while functioning in the role of hiring manager. I've never heard one person answer it sufficiently and I've interviewed a lot of people over the years. Most folks are thrown off track by the question. It amazes me sometimes how many so-called leaders there are out there who cannot adequately express anything at all about who they are as leaders. Interestingly, I learned from a discussion I had with a US Navy submarine Captain that he was required to write a leadership framework before assuming command of a fast attack vessel. His framework was distributed to his crew the day he took over. It’s a highly effective means for potential colleagues to learn about you and who you are as a leader so that you can all work together better. It sets people's expectations early in the relationship.
After reading my leadership framework, Cindy Colonna, President of Team Technology, Inc. in Matthews, NC, just yesterday wrote, "I found your Leadership Framework very interesting, much more so than a resume."
So let me ask you, if you were asked this question in a job interview, how would your resume read?