2012 TCG/American Express Leadership Boot Camp
2012 Personal Reflections
The process of the TCG/American Express Leadership Boot Camp has been tremendous and has had a serious influence on how I collaborate with my fellow co-workers. From the initial Boot Camp in March to the follow-up sessions with my leadership counselor to the Pre-Conference Workshop in Boston, I have been given the tools and motivation to sharpen my leadership skills. I have been able to clearly set goals for myself and have been able to implement systems for achieving them. As I reflect on the last six months, I have identified three examples of how the Boot Camp has had a positive impact on me.
To begin with, I have made significant changes in how my department operates. When I returned from the initial Boot Camp, I immediately began to look at how our artistic department ran and assessed the areas that needed improvement. The peer survey was very helpful with giving me the initiative and confidence to do so. Many of my peers said in the survey they thought my ideas were good but that they wanted me to be more confident in my opinions. So I decided to set up monthly meetings with staff in my department. The meetings were designed for me to hear feedback from them and for them to receive feedback from me. I used the feedback techniques we learned at the Boot Camp to guide the meetings and this allowed me to set clear expectations for my department and the processes for maintaining them. In the last six months, I have seen a big change in my department, and we are on the way to becoming more productive and more economical with our resources.
Secondly, Triad Stage has gone through some majors changes in the past six months, and I have tried to be a leader through that change. The loss of several key staff members, a new marketing company and continuing financial difficulties have forced us to do some major restructuring of our office staff and redistributing duties. This has caused some tension among our staff, and I have tried to be empathetic with those who are having difficulties, but I have also maintained the direction our theatre leaders have set. Before the Boot Camp, I didn’t have the knowledge of how to do that or even the awareness that it was necessary. While at Boot Camp, we learned about the steps of transition and change. I have tried to stay conscious of those principles and use them to help the transition in any way I can.
Finally, I have been able to find a balance between my personal life and work that was missing before. In the theatre, our jobs often demand all of our time and attention and our personal health and wellness can suffer because of it. This was something I discussed in my follow-up sessions with my leadership counselor, Karen Jo Shapiro, and she helped me see how important balance was to my effectiveness as a leader. She helped me develop a plan for taking care of myself while maintaining a firm hold on my work responsibilities. She freed me from the guilt I felt for taking time for myself. I have now found ways of keeping a balance and my improved physical health has had a positive impact on my work as a leader and as an artist.
I have found it hard to articulate the impact the leadership Boot Camp has had on me. I think this is because the impact has been so far reaching, and I am still discovering the effects of it daily. I believe I will look back on this experience and count it as one of the defining periods of my evolution as a leader in the American theatre..
—Bryan Conger (Emerging Leader)
Triad Stage, Greensboro, NC
Having experienced the TCG/American Express Leadership Boot Camp at the Center for Creative Leadership as a team, we can confidently say this program will have a positive impact on the professional theatre field as long as theatre administrators from across the country have the opportunity to participate in the program. With constant activity and change serving as the nature of our field, it was incredible to have the opportunity to step back from the hectic nature of day-to-day operations and analyze our management and leadership styles.
Finding the time to conduct analyses and assessments like those offered at the Center for Creative Leadership on our own would be nearly impossible. The 360º assessments provided an in-depth insight into each of our management styles, allowing us to fully understand our strengths and weaknesses as leaders. We each found the Leadership Coaching to be incredibly beneficial, as it was a unique opportunity to speak candidly about our work and life, and the appropriate balance necessary to continue being a strong leader within our organization and our daily life. We each gained a better understanding of our leadership styles, enabling us to better communicate with one another as a team, as well as with the rest of the staff at the theatre. Our ability to take the skills we learned at the Boot Camp and translate them to the office has benefited the entire theatre company in terms of communication and operations.
Finally, we appreciated the opportunity to network with theatre professionals that we would not normally have contact with, allowing us to develop relationships and brainstorm over common problems and their possible solutions. We are grateful for the opportunity to attend the Leadership Boot Camp and hope this program will continue for many years to come.
—Jennifer Bauer-Lyons (Established Leader) and Jordan Flowers (Emerging Leader)
Horizon Theatre Company, Atlanta, GA
Thank you for the opportunity to be a part of the Leadership Boot Camp. The sessions and training I received has been invaluable to me in my ongoing development as a leader in the non-profit field. In particular, the sessions on management practices and counseling employees using Situation Behavior Impact guidelines has allowed me to work more effectively with employees that were not performing to their highest potential.
Also, the one-on-one coaching has been a tremendous boost to my self-esteem and health. A simple reminder from my coach to follow up on the goals that I set in our session has helped me create a better work/life balance. This has increased my productivity and our company as a whole is benefiting greatly.
I am grateful to American Express for their sponsorship of this program, and I feel it has benefited not only me, but my Emerging Leader, our whole organization and the community we serve.
—Raphael Parry (Established Leader)
Shakespeare Dallas, Dallas, TX
2010 Personal ReflectionsAs someone who runs a mid-sized organization, it was a great treat to step away and dedicate a few days to work on improving leadership, communication and strategy thinking skills. My time with you included many "a-ha" moments that have already proven useful and effective back here. My partner is definitely on the right track, and I am excited to see him continue to grow and develop with us. I can already see what he took away from our boot camp that has been put into action!
The Leadership Boot Camp has fundamentally changed how I interact with colleagues, how I perceive challenges and how I form strategies to solve problems. I consider myself incredibly lucky to have participated in the program and will carry the lessons I learned and the insights I gained for the rest of my life.
— Emerging Leader
Although I’ve been in the field a long time, I’m always open to learning more things that will help me be more effective. I especially valued the Campbell Leadership Descriptor (which gave me the opportunity to step back and look more rigorously at how I lead my organization) and the FIRO-B assessment tool which gave me insight into why I do some of the things I do. The concepts in the Change Style Indicator have also been very useful as I assess the behaviors of some of my colleagues; I used it recently to facilitate a conflict between two colleagues, and believe that it really helped. I felt that Rich was an especially powerful instructor, with strong presentation skills and a clear mastery of the content; he was thought-provoking and engaging. As a leader dealing with significant changes (organizationally and personally) it was particularly valuable to understand the difference between Change and Transition. This will help me shape my own transition to retirement over the next couple of years.
— Established Leader
It was fascinating to get some new tools to identify my leadership tendencies and preferences and to work with my mentor to talk as a team about how our styles fit together and how we can use the best of what we both have to offer to move our theatre forward.
— Emerging Leader
It has given me insight into how to lead my organization in effective and inspiring ways, and take better advantage of opportunities. I feel more prepared to anticipate leadership challenges within my organization and how to meet those head on and with great confidence. Perhaps even more importantly, it gave me some insight into why interpersonal dynamics in our office and ensemble members play out the way they do. I think I will be more patient and sensitive to other decision-making processes because of that, which will, I think, make me a more effective leader. I am very eager to bring the lessons I have learned back to my company, and even present a few of the activities at our annual staff retreat.
— Established Leader
The workshop allowed me to look in the mirror and see not only what my conditioned perception of myself is but the perception others have of me based on my behavioral patterns. The awakening was crucial in understanding my developmental needs in terms of becoming not only an effective leader for the sake of leadership, but a leader who possesses and exhibits morals, compassion, strength, vision, honesty, inclusiveness and wisdom.
— Emerging Leader