ACT, Inc.

Leadership Academy

Challenge

ACT is rapidly evolving, as are the leadership capabilities needed to achieve our goals and deliver on our mission. In response, we created The ACT Leadership Academy.

Actions

The ACT Leadership Academy is a cohort-based learning experience that includes approximately 20 leaders from across the organization. Each cohort includes leaders with diverse backgrounds. The Academy is designed around personalized growth, common foundations for leadership, and business acumen. This is a unique opportunity for participants to engage as a learner, colleague, contributor, change agent, teacher and leader to advance ACT’s mission, strategy, and value proposition.

Leadership Academy Objectives & Enabling Components:

1. Personal Development & Self-Awareness

  • Formal 360-degree assessment
  • MBTI assessment
  • Action planning with stretch leadership behavior goals
  • Certified executive coaching for each participant

2. Organizational Development

  • Learning opportunities tied to competencies, skills, and behaviors needed to advance ACT
  • Team effectiveness/group development sessions
  • Group-based projects tied to business needs and potential market/product plays

3. Professional development

  • Internal and external thought leaders deliver training and collaborative learning sessions
  • Senior management participates by discussing real-time, critical topics associated with current priorities and future opportunities
  • Customer focus, e.g., traveling to Chicago Public Schools and meeting with underserved students to learn more about how we can better serve them
  • Training constructs that include business acumen, diversity and inclusion, and leadership development

Outcomes

To date, more 65 of our senior leaders have participated in the Leadership Academy

  • Five promoted into VP roles
  • Two promoted into Sr. VP roles
  • Measurable increases related to leadership behavior goals
  • Previous cohorts have access to thought leaders and remain connected
  • Measurably stronger relationships, measurable learning, and demonstrated awareness and understanding of ACT’s strategy, rationale, and business activities

Most of us don’t grow up in families with business leaders who taught us the ropes of 'business' and 'leadership' around the kitchen table, so this is our kitchen table. Each class member is expected – figuratively – to help set the table, grab a frying pan, and get to work. The Academy helps our up-and-coming leaders 'learn the ropes' in an active and explicit manner. ACT’s mission is 'Helping people achieve education and workplace success.' That mission begins at home.

Marten Roords, CEO

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