A Case Study In Leadership Development U S Navy

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Case study of application of Appreciative Inquiry with the U. S. Navy which used the summit method to develop leadership at all levels.

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A Case Study In Leadership Development U S Navy

  1. 1. A Case Study in Leadership Development: The United States Navy Summarized by Helene C. Sugarman Purpose Recognizing that more lower-level people need to make decisions based on the ever- growing quantity of information produced by developing technology, the U.S. Navy decided to make long lasting changes. In today’s information age, it is necessary for people at all levels of an organization to synthesize information and be able to use it for making decisions. These potential leaders need to know how to function well in this new environment. The Navy decided to use the Summit as a way to create change effectively and in a relatively short time. This Summit was the culmination of a two-year journey of exploration of how best to develop leaders. Two methods were combined: Large Scale Change, where a microcosm is invited to participate in the room (Summit), and Appreciative Inquiry (AI), where people discover the best of what is and tap into core values and competencies. The intent was to jump-start the U. S. Navy change process. The Leadership Summit The Leadership Summit began with remarks by the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO, see page 5) talking about the Navy having responsibility to help each member to develop him- or her-self as fully as possible. He further addressed the continuing need to develop leaders who can make strong decisions and lead the Navy into the 21st Century as more technologies spread more information further down the line “Today we have begun that search for leadership development. We have begun a conversation which will proceed for the next four days.” This Summit included 260 people ranking from Seaman to Admiral. The participants wore civilian clothes which did away with standard formalities and made available a less hierarchical, more open environment. Each person wore a special neck lavaliere with a special logo announcing: Leadership Summit Bold and Enlightened Naval Leaders at Every Level, Forging an Empowered Culture of Excellence and their name. The Summit produced 30 pilot projects that explored many possibilities. (See list of pilot projects on the site) Helene C. Sugarman 1 of 5 Dynamic Communication 301-460-6100 hcsugarman@aiconsulting.org
  2. 2. The Process During the four days, the four D’s of Appreciative Inquiry were used as a methodology to work through changes in thinking about leadership issues in the Navy. 1. On Day 1 the process of Discovery revealed the positive core of the U.S. Navy. 2. On Day 2 the Dream process permitted the assembled people to imagine what is possible when the Navy is at its very best. 3. On Day 3 at the beginning of the Design phase, attendees created provocative propositions which included the shared vision of empowered decision making. All attendees were included in making design decisions.  As David Cooperidder mentioned during this part, We are empowering you to do extraordinary things. Look at the capacity in this room  Then with all this energy when we tell people that we expect them to do well, and they do, this becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. 4. On Day 4, the Destiny phase looked at both how we help leaders develop the necessary skills and how we put in place what we need for the Navy (the organizational structure – system ) to move forward. Achievements At the end of these four days, 30 pilot projects were established to carry forward the movement toward leadership development that was started almost two years ago. (see list of pilots) The CNO closed the Leadership Summit with, “We will not stop; we have too much invested. I say to you, let’s go try it. Go and live. God bless you.” The History This journey began in January, 2000 when the Under Secretary of the Navy (Honorable Jerry Hultin) met with 19 mid-grade officers at the Center for Executive Education at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. The intent was to explore the Navy/Marine Corps of 2020. The goal was to “attract and retain great people” with a central part of this goal being developing leaders. By October, they briefed the Chief of Naval Operations of their findings. The study group determined Helene C. Sugarman 2 of 5 Dynamic Communication 301-460-6100 hcsugarman@aiconsulting.org
  3. 3. Program Elements that were submitted to the CNO for his approval by December. In January 2001 the Steering Committee met to discuss membership and milestones. That May, the group met with the CNO to conduct an appreciative interview on leadership. In June, a 3-day Steering Committee workshop took place during which major stakeholders and participant organizations were identified, final approval was given for the Leadership Summit, and approval was granted for the Interview Team to collect examples of outstanding leadership. In August, The Interview Team held a 2-day workshop on interviewing techniques. In October the Interview Team reviewed over 300 collected stories. The Team completed the review of leadership stories and published its findings in November. The four day Leadership Summit took place in December. Many people put in many hours to make this Summit a success, including inviting experienced facilitators, David Cooperidder and Frank Barrett, to advise the Steering Committee, to help run and facilitate the Summit including all the planning needed that led up to it. Results Looking to create a new model for the 21st Century, this Summit identified 8 values: integrity, trust, honesty, respect, pride, hope, compassion, and loyalty. Participants used Appreciative Inquiry methods to focus on their high point experiences in the Navy. After discovering commonalities and hopes for the future, they referenced these strengths to create ‘provocative propositions’ and to generate pilot action plans for positive change. Tangible outcomes include over 30 pilot projects such as 360-Degree Feedback, E-Mentoring, a Leadership Portal website, a Center for Positive Change, and additional summit work came out of these activities. This summit also created a shared vision for the kind of leadership the Navy wants the participants to be; established a method to collect examples of exemplary leadership stories; focused on the importance of ‘self-talk’ and AI as a change management tool for leaders; empowered participants with an awareness of AI and the summit method; demonstrated the value of the methodology (four separate summits will address other complex issues); and helped participants leave with a heightened sense of possibilities that have a positive effect on retention. The Summit enabled every voice at every level to be heard. The senior leaders present encouraged the junior people present to speak up and then they listened to what these junior people had to contribute. This encouragement allowed all voices to be heard. The real power came from everyone being willing to listen. Also, the CNO championed a quality process that engaged every level in the Navy in a conversation about one of the cornerstones of success—leadership. Helene C. Sugarman 3 of 5 Dynamic Communication 301-460-6100 hcsugarman@aiconsulting.org
  4. 4. “The fact that this happened at all, signals a readiness and a willingness for change from the ‘ full range of generations and backgrounds in our Navy.’ Organizational change starts at a very personal level. Is leadership important to you? If so, then start by being the leader you want to see most in our Navy.” (LCDR Dave Nystrom, the change agent) Lessons learned Change Agent, LCMR Dave Nystom, noted that, “one person can make a difference. I am no different than many other thousands of people in our great Navy. If I can do it, anybody can.” He passes along the following tips: 1) Find a champion, 2) Be credible: do your homework and become the expert on the topic, 3) Be an entrepreneur: assume that resources and procedures for your innovation do not exist and that you will have to create them. 5) Know your audience: you must build advocacy in a positive way 6) Have passion for your vision—be tenacious yet open to suggestions. Other case related documents available at the website, http://ai.cwru.edu/practice/packs.cfm Names of Documents: • Learnings –interview team feedback and lessons learned • Learnings: logistics, • Themes from 360 leadership stories • List of pilot projects with some details • Pilot projects – 360 feedback beginnings • Discovering and articulating “positive core” of the Navy • What is an AI Organizational summit? What is Large Scale Change? • Original objectives The Full Quotation of Admiral Vern Clerk, CNO: This Summit is an invitation to join in conservation. We have been left a tremendous heritage by those who have served before us. A heritage of service and leadership…When our sailors take an oath, they make a promise to serve, they make a promise to support and defend the Constitution of the United States and defend against all enemies foreign and domestic…And they promise to obey the orders of all those appointed over them—can you imagine that? They promise to obey the orders of a Helene C. Sugarman 4 of 5 Dynamic Communication 301-460-6100 hcsugarman@aiconsulting.org
  5. 5. lot of people they have never met. In return, leaders make a promise. They promise to commit themselves to the personal and professional growth of their people…this is an important opportunity. “This leadership Summit is an opportunity to search for innovative ways of improving our institution and supporting the development and growth of all our people, both enlisted and commissioned. This Leadership Summit is not the only answer, but it is an excellent opportunity to start some important conversations.” Helene C. Sugarman 5 of 5 Dynamic Communication 301-460-6100 hcsugarman@aiconsulting.org
  6. 6. lot of people they have never met. In return, leaders make a promise. They promise to commit themselves to the personal and professional growth of their people…this is an important opportunity. “This leadership Summit is an opportunity to search for innovative ways of improving our institution and supporting the development and growth of all our people, both enlisted and commissioned. This Leadership Summit is not the only answer, but it is an excellent opportunity to start some important conversations.” Helene C. Sugarman 5 of 5 Dynamic Communication 301-460-6100 hcsugarman@aiconsulting.org

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