||Federated Department Stores
||• Hone leadership skills
• Collaborate under pressure
• Allocate people, time, and budgets
• Create coachable moments
||During a customized Novotran™ simulation, team members collaborate to build a motorless vehicle to meet a set of demanding (and shifting) customer specifications. Along the way, they catch themselves being themselves—and learn from it.
Federated Builds Leadership Bench
Linkage/Leapfrog partnership helps 2004 hi-po’s create momentum
Federated Department Stores actively builds the bench strength of its leadership. Great talent exists for current roles. However, challenges facing the department store industry— competing with mass merchants and specialty retailers—create an even greater need to strengthen and retain an internal talent pool to fill emerging new executive roles.
Federated launched its first Accelerated Leadership Development Program (ALDP) in 2001 to hone the leadership skills of its high potentials (hi-po’s). Four years later, Federated reports an increased awareness organization-wide of opportunities for advancement within Federated and a common framework for identifying future senior leaders.
Developing Leaders is a Process
At Federated, developing individual leaders is not a training event, but a multi-year process involving leadership assessments, coaching, development plans and opportunities to “Step Up” one’s leadership skills. Senior executives and top management play an active role designing the process and actively coaching program participants. And, as a way to indoctrinate leadership principles into the culture at Federated, all ALDP graduates are invited to participate in learning activities with future hi-po groups, continuously feeding and growing the alumni network.
Leapfrog’s Novotran™ Simulates Creating Momentum
Experiential learning, involving action and application, is a key approach utilized in the design of Federated’s ALDP curriculum. Each year curriculum designers are challenged to build upon key themes from previous years to integrate and fully engage the returning alumni participants.
Analyzing the leader’s role in the development of high performing teams is a leadership challenge explored each year. A pro cycling “spin” was applied for the 2004 program. Participants learned about pro cycling strategies and tactics and utilized Lance Armstrong’s compelling comeback story as a metaphor to frame their conversations about leadership and team development in the retail industry.
Linkage, Inc. - ALDP curriculum designers and a global organizational development company that specializes in leadership development—reached out for Leapfrog to bring this teamwork analogy alive for Federated. Leapfrog and Linkage have partnered on a variety of client projects, including learning simulations and community service projects to activate leadership development content for each of the seven years of Wyeth’s Global Leadership Program.
For Federated, Leapfrog’s simulation Novotran™ was customized to fit the cycling metaphor and to provide an opportunity for participants to practice leadership and high performance teaming in a compressed timeframe.
In Novotran™, participants develop a strategy and work plan to allocate their people, time and budget resources as they tackle the challenge of building a motor-less vehicle to meet a set of demanding (and shifting) customer specs. As a team they can see how their leadership skills, teamwork and implementation stack up against a competing group of equally capable peers.
“It’s like getting a small taste for being a member of a senior leadership team,” said Betsy Koonce, Linkage’s Director of Consulting, Central Region. “The beginning warm-up exercise led by Leapfrog’s Chris Olex was surprisingly successful at getting this hi-po group to loosen up and have fun before they focused on the simulation challenge. It’s the simple things that you do as a leader – like encouraging having fun – that really get people performing at their best. Leaders who deliberately build relationships accelerate the performance of their teams.”
Debbie Friedman, Operating Vice President, Federated Leadership Institute, adds: “The Novotran™ simulation was highly engaging and thought provoking. The hi-po’s got an opportunity to ‘catch themselves being themselves’ in leadership roles and team situations. Afterwards, with the help of one-on-one coaching, they were able to apply what they’d learned from the simulation to enhance their leadership skills.”
In the debriefing immediately following Novotran™, participants examined their experience and used the metaphor of the Lance Armstrong success story to bring to life five key insights regarding leadership and creating momentum. So how do leaders create momentum? According to the hi-po’s at Federated they:
• Convey a compelling vision;
• Develop a clear strategy to bring the vision to life;
• Invest themselves;
• Engage the right team; and
• Create the environment for synchronized, disciplined execution.
David Giber, Senior Vice President, Linkage, Inc., summarizes: "These leadership lessons are applicable across many industries, especially those where there is a challenge in building and maintaining momentum and where the cycle of business is like a stage race— sometimes you are sprinting; sometimes you are huffing and puffing as you climb a hill; and once in a while, it’s a great downhill ride and you have to hang on so you don’t lose control."