Improving Effectiveness Within the Nuclear Power Industry
The Leadership Development Institute (LDI) at Eckerd College has worked with a variety of nuclear power stations to improve overall performance. More specifically, we have designed and implemented consultations and training programs in the areas of leadership development, refueling outage performance and team integration. Following is a summary of the process and improvements resulting from customized interventions which addressed the specific needs of different nuclear plants.
Having been the primary leadership development resource for many of the nation’s largest energy companies for over 34 years, LDI has tremendous experience with our two-pronged approach of 1) identifying performance issues that need improvement and 2) providing specific, measureable solutions to address those issues. This methodology coupled with the new and unique approach of training all supervisors and above from all departments at each station builds relationships, reduces “siloing,” facilitates collaboration and ultimately increases profitability and improves industrial safety.
Every intervention is uniquely crafted based on each stations’ needs. Our multi-phase process includes the following elements: Assessment: Phase I consists of an onsite needs assessment. The assessment involves leaders throughout the ranks of the organization, and includes observation and analysis of work processes and team meetings which results in defining key objectives for targeted improvement. Targeted Intervention (Challenge): Phase II is the onsite training program during which these targeted learning objectives are accomplished through a combination of experiential learning, facilitated debriefs, individual assessment and one-on-one feedback coaching. To ensure that the learning is entrenched throughout the organization, there are multiple “touch points” between the LDI instructors and leaders at all levels of the organization. Maintenance (Support): Phase III consists of additional training interventions designed to maintain leadership excellence that drives top decile performance and identify specific areas for improvement (AFIs) as they arise.
Types of Programs
Every program is customized to meet the primary concerns identified in Phase I, but most programs fall into three general categories: Leadership Development, Refueling Outage Performance and Team Integration.
The leadership development programs are designed to enhance leadership capabilities by increasing self-awareness of strengths and areas for improvement. Participants complete personality and leadership assessments, including 360-degree tool where individuals get feedback from their boss, peers and direct reports. Through the tools and insights gained during the program, participants are equipped to regulate emotions, manage conflict and communicate effectively in their high-stress environments.
The refueling outage programs are designed to improve preparation and enhance performance of work teams during a planned refueling outage. LDI consultants work with employees to focus on the challenges, frustrations, suggestions for their and accomplishments associated with planned outages. An analysis of these discussions reveals key objectives for further training.
The goal of the Team Integration programs is to improve trust and communication, break down barriers, and cultivate a shared vision among team members. Creating team norms and exploring team dynamics are usually a key aspect.
The results from LDI’s training are impressive. Follow-up survey results indicate operational focus improves substantially. Outage performance improves dramatically with some sites receiving their highest INPO ratings in station history and team conflict is managed much more effectively. The end result is that industry safety improves, millions of dollars are saved during outages, and companies become more profitable.
The Leadership Assessment and Development (LAD) program was an eighteen-month long process created to help rising executives prepare for high-level roles at Marsh. Participants attended three multi-day programs and worked extensively with LDI coaches between classroom sessions. The LAD program originated in one of several business regions at Marsh and was adopted at the corporate level for global implementation.
Major components of the LAD program included:
- Phase One: Classroom sessions focused on 360 leadership assessment, personal style assessments, leadership values, learning tactics, shared leadership, individual consultation session, peer feedback, and individual development planning.
- Phase Two: Up to six hours of on-going coaching focused on individual development plan.
- Phase Three: Classroom sessions focused on 360 conflict skills assessment, video-taped conflict role plays, emotional intelligence, negotiating, team problem-solving and an individual consultation.
- Phase Four: An additional six hours of on-going coaching.
- Phase Five: Classroom sessions focused on re-assessment of 360 leadership instrument, developing others as leaders, creating work-life balance, maintaining relationships in the workplace and a final individual consultation.
As a result of our multi-phase process with Marsh, a significant number of high-potential leaders were promoted to higher-level positions and meaningfully improved their overall leadership effectiveness.
Midwest Regional Utility
After sending managers to the Leadership Development Program (LDP)®, the organization wanted to promote a common philosophy and language within the organization through the use of key assessment instruments used in LDP. The company's overall goal was to increase participants' self-awareness and understanding of their personal communication styles, differences and the impact on others.
Together with the firm's HR department, LDI created an 1 1/2-day teambuilding program for employees from different divisions to attend together. Participants receive feedback on interpersonal styles, problem-solving approaches and ways of handling conflict. The highly participative and interactive program features short lectures, feedback from assessment instruments and group exercises designed to capitalize on team diversity while building better working relationships and setting goals. Nearly 600 employees will eventually attend the program which is conducted every six to eight weeks.
National Waste Management Company
Increasing competition and a transition toward team-based management required that the company develop team leaders who were more effective at building, maintaining and leading teams. The organization wanted a concentrated, in-depth experience that would have lasting benefits on teamwork, communication and performance.
To address these objectives, LDI customized its highly successful Teamwork In Action program for the company. This three-day experience involves a thorough assessment battery including two 360-degree (multi-rater) feedback instruments. A highlight of the program is a 90-minute, one-on-one individual feedback session with an LDI staff member. Participants are placed in "Learning Teams" of four to six people throughout the program so that they can relate the program content to real issues in the workplace. The goal of the program is to help team leaders understand the dynamics of teamwork so that they can motivate team members toward common goals and increased productivity.
Far West Regional Energy Company
This company was experiencing deregulation and very strong competition. It also had recently downsized its workforce and was facing morale issues among its staff. The organization developed a Leadership Academy, a company-wide training program, and wanted a "kick-off" program that would set the stage for the other components of the Academy. Since other training modules in the Academy were going to address organizational and team issues, LDI designed an initial program that focused on the individual with an in-depth examination of each manager's strengths and developmental needs. In addition, the company requested a program that featured components found in other LDI programs: assessment, feedback and coaching.
LDI staff, with input from the company training department, created a three-day program called Assessment for Leadership. The program addresses 22 leadership behaviors derived from a process that LDI staff conducted with top management. The program features the Leadership Effectiveness AnalysisTM, an assessment tool that enables participants to focus and prioritize developmental efforts based on the results of the organization's Strategic Directions®. The program also includes a one-on-one feedback session with an LDI staff member during which participants gain new insights and ideas for development and set the stage for subsequent training in the Leadership Academy. LDI also plays a pivotal role in two other courses in the Leadership Academy.
National Membership Service Provider
This organization initially approached the Leadership Development Institute to deliver training that would address meaningful leadership competencies and have a measureable impact on performance. Key personnel from Human Resources were committed to the concept of highly relevant learning experiences carefully designed to produce clear behavioral outcomes. They also recognized the need for a culture change to move leaders away from traditional, conservative thinking in response to an increasingly complex and unpredictable economic environment.
As part of a multi-phase process over the course of a number of years, at least 100 top leaders in the organization attended the Leadership Development Program to enhance self-awareness and to create alignment. LDI also created a five-day program for new managers called the Challenges of Leadership. This workshop focuses modules on Creating a Vision, Developing Followership, Implementation and Follow-through, Achieving Results and Teamplaying. Although these participants receive feedback from a variety of assessments, the majority of the program is devoted to practice drills, application exercises and rehearsals of the desired leadership practices.
The organization identifies skill gaps and regularly contracts with LDI to conduct one to three-day programs on critical leadership competencies such as coaching, collaboration, conflict resolution, negotiation, resiliency and innovative problem solving.
The organization reports a more unified and nimble team that is better able to bridge the gap between senior management and the front line. The environment has become feedback-rich. Progress has been sustained through LDI’s frequent involvement in the annual Leadership Retreats focused on bringing their essential leadership principles to life. Using high-impact experiential activities tied to the organization’s objectives and utilizing carefully-selected assessments, the leadership team has begun to adopt a more entrepreneurial mindset in line with their vision.
For the second year in a row, the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL®) ranked No. 4 overall in the 2015 Financial Times worldwide survey of executive education. CCL has earned a Top 10 ranking for 14 consecutive years and remains the only institution among 85 in the survey focused exclusively on leadership development.
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