The Salvation Army Southern California Division engaged Apricot Consulting to implement a leadership development course for its employees. The first program commenced in 2015 and due to its success the program was re-commissioned in 2016 and 2017.
The Salvation Army wanted to create an opportunity to develop better leaders, build a sense of investment in employees, and create an opportunity to foster collaboration and a deeper relationship between departments. Apricot had prior experience in delivering a leadership program for pastoral staff (employees who are pastors of the church denomination) and was engaged to design and implement a program for non-pastoral staff, in conjunction with leadership from The Salvation Army Southern California Division.
Apricot’s leadership development courses
Apricot’s leadership development courses develop leaders into dynamic individuals who understand their own abilities, appreciate the strengths and opportunities of those with whom they interact, and comprehend what it takes to better progress team members within the broader organization.
Apricot’s leadership development philosophy utilizes a three-level approach to leadership development:
- Leading self: all good leadership starts within – by gaining a better understanding of ourselves we can develop greater personal awareness of how we operate as a leader.
- Leading others: leadership is ultimately about relationships – by strengthening skills in team building, effective communication and conflict management leaders are better equipped to connect with their employees.
- Leading organizations: strategic and higher-level leadership requires an oversight perspective – by learning about vision and mission, organization culture, change management, avoiding the ‘silo-effect’ and how to develop collaborative working teams, leaders will attain greater strategic focus.
Apricot leadership development programs typically target three levels of leaders – emerging leaders, mid-level managers and executive leaders. This program targeted mid-level managers from across a myriad of organizational functions to intentionally build a better sense of unity and to help dissipate silos.
The course was delivered in monthly instalments with alternating two-day offsite and one-day training session formats in order to separate participants from their daily functions and allow them to immerse themselves in their personal development without distractions. Apricot recognizes that offsite training with an overnight stay can be a big time commitment and so only half the training sessions were conducted in this manner. Several one-day sessions included site visits to other organizations to enable a broader exposure to leadership strategies.
In order to facilitate the adult learning process a variety of training methods were utilized including the use of case studies, personal presentations, videos and group dialogue which cater to all learning styles.
Review sessions were held with participants after the program to discuss how they could best continue to implement their training.
Program participants reflected positively on the experience and how the skills learnt contributed to a greater awareness of their roles and capabilities as leaders. When surveyed at program completion participants in the program all rated either moderately true or very true the following statements:
- I gained a greater understanding of leadership principles
- I learned tools to use in my own leadership experiences
- I experienced growth in my leadership abilities
- I made direct application of concepts taught/experienced in my current contexts
- The program facilitated relationship building amongst colleagues (primary goal of leadership)
- I now work differently with others as a result of this program
- I would recommend this course to others
Participants said that “the training helped me understand how important trust [is] to working well with others”, “I now understand how knowing who I am contributes to the success of me leading others” and “I feel empowered after completing this program”.
The program is now in its third year.