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Learners Climb Everest in Revamped Leadership Program

Gather your supplies. Engage a skilled team. Look up. Look up further. Climbing Mount Everest is a challenge reserved for the brave and committed, but that same zeal can be harnessed within an organization by effectively applying proven leadership skills designed to motivate and engage.

FCCS’s Leading and Managing for Results: The Leadership Landscape program delivers actionable learnings to help individual contributors and first-time managers develop skills to advance their leadership journey while helping their organization strive toward their own goals. This year, the program was redesigned for virtual delivery with updated content built around the metaphor of climbing Mount Everest.

“As with mountain climbing, leading effectively requires that you understand your own strengths and weaknesses and how you interact with people and the world around you,” says Michele Padilla, Director and Senior Consultant in FCCS’ Learning and Consulting Services practice area. “Both also demand expert advice, strong team members and a detailed plan with achievable goals and milestones, so the Everest metaphor is apt.”

Through extensive research, including conversations with a mountain guide who has trekked throughout the Himalayas, Michele identified and incorporated a host of themes arising from both successful and unsuccessful summit attempts that apply to modern business:

Leading and Managing for Results Themes

With the overall program update successfully underway, FCCS received a request to deliver a custom program to Oklahoma AgCredit, which has long recognized the value of Leading and Managing for Results, enrolling two associates in the course each year. These recognized benefits led to desire in 2020 to host a customized program that could include 15 of their associates.

“Our leadership has decided to take a broader approach to training and development. They recognize the value in offering training opportunities to more of our valuable team members. Providing professional development to both supervisors and strong individual contributors deepens the benefits to the organization,” says Michelle Clogston, Learning and Development Officer with Oklahoma AgCredit.

The inaugural delivery of the updated Leading and Managing for Results: The Leadership Landscape program consisted of a two-day session, in October with Michele Padilla facilitating remotely to a gathered OAC team and a second in early December with all participants remote. The course includes the pre-work of watching “Ultimate Survival: Everest” which highlights the experience of four people attempting to summit, not all of whom are successful. During the first session, participants completed a ropes course as a team building experience, applying the mountain climbing themes.

“The group practiced teamwork, critical thinking and quick decision-making, all of which were discussed during the morning session with Michele Padilla,” says Michelle. “We heard glowing reviews for this experiential learning where they could immediately put what they’d learned into action.”

The second session included a video call with Pemba Tenzing Sherpa who began guiding treks at a very young age. In addition to summiting multiple Himalayan peaks, he founded the non-profit Sherpa Foundation which provides humanitarian support to his fellow Nepalis. Pemba talked about his experiences on the mountains with decision making, conflict management, diversity and other topics, highlighting how these leadership principles are applicable in an organization as well as when trekking a mountain.

“So many themes translate to the business world: facing unexpected conditions, interpersonal conflict on the mountain, managing both experienced and novice climbers,” says Michele. “And on a broader scale, we learned from Pemba Sherpa that in the process of climbing it, ‘you become one with the mountain’ if you are to succeed. Individuals can ask themselves the same question: are they one with their teams and their organizations, and if not, how can they resolve the disparity?”

Incorporated into the content of Learning and Managing for Results: The Leadership Landscape are lessons on decision making, differences between leaders and managers, the Franklin Covey time matrix, and role modeling and using a coaching model for effectively delivering feedback.

“Given the time of year, coaching on how to give feedback during year-end evaluations and tools for better time management during an exceptionally busy year, the topics couldn’t be more on point,” says Michelle. “One of the biggest messages is that when one person summits, everyone who contributed summits with them. We’re all part of the same team, and each have our own contributions to make.”

Despite the program being delivered virtually, the response from participants was universally positive. Both Michele and Michelle noticed consistent engagement during the sessions, and afterward Michelle heard anecdotes about the lessons being put immediately into action.

“Leading and Managing for Results was very engaging and powerful. It provided tools our staff could instantly use to more efficiently manage their time. An assessment helped them learn which behaviors they should change to create better working relationships,” says Michelle. “The program went so well, even remotely, that we’re planning another session for a different group of employees in 2021.”

Leading and Managing for Results: The Leadership Landscape is part of Accelerate – the Center for Growth and Success, our new approach to serving our clients with integrated experiential and virtual education and development opportunities from across our service lines.

Encompassing consultation, governance and leadership programs, strategic talent management, conferences and events, and experiential learning programs, the Accelerate Center delivers holistic solutions – FCCS consultants will analyze a client’s underlying needs and stated goals, and then work together to craft a targeted solution that offers both efficiency and value. For more information on the Accelerate Center and how it can serve you and your team, go to fccsconsulting.com/accelerate.

For more information about Leading and Managing for Results or other FCCS learning and development programs contact Michele Padilla at 720.939.7182.

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