The most rewarding experience of my career with the First Group of Companies has been working on building leadership and coaching capacity within the organization. My passion for this began in 2009 while doing my masters in leadership. My thesis pertained to the effectiveness of organizational coaching. After completing my masters, I pursued a certification in executive coaching and completed a three year business plan to build the leadership and coaching capacity of First Credit Union leaders.
At a Vision 2020 planning session held in the fall of 2011 facilitated by our CEO, the group of managers and board members in attendance determined that our best course of action for success despite the organizational pressures we face is to remain steadfast on our vision to ‘build successful relationships’ with our member/customers, staff, and the communities we serve. We identified the most critical external forces as being changing customer demands and competition. Neither of which are going to go away, or become easier to handle. The one variable we agreed that we can control which has influence on how we handle our customer demands and competition is leadership development. As a leadership team, we decided that it was time to define our leadership philosophy and build a strategy that includes growth plans and measurables for future success.
In October of 2011 we began the process of defining the leadership philosophy for the First Group of Companies. We compiled and analysed data from our employee engagement survey, member survey, and competitive environment to define a leadership philosophy that was specific to our organization. This involved much collaboration including the senior team and two outside consultants. Through this we determined that to be successful in the future, the three most important pillars of our leadership philosophy will be the ability to be visionary, people focused, and intrapreneurial (intrapreneurial being the organizational word akin to the more familiar business term entrepreneurial). Below are strategies that have been defined for each of these pillars. As we move forward with these strategies, we will be working together to build the leadership competencies of all of our leaders to embody these qualities.
First Leadership Philosophy: Our leaders are visionary, people focused, and intrapreneurial.
Strategy #1 – Visionary
Foster visionary leaders who think strategically, who are in the know, who hold and live the vision, and who inspire commitment.
Strategy #2 – People Focused
Foster people focused leaders who lead by example, empower others, develop employees personally and professionally, who drive performance that is recognized, and who strive to meet or exceed customer and community expectations through ‘Building Successful Relationships’.
Strategy #3 – Intrapreneurial
Develop intrapreneurial leaders who foster innovation, resourcefulness and pro-activity, who focus on achieving target, business development, and outside opportunities to ensure sustainable growth.