AN INTERVIEW WITH GREG GIESEN
Conducted by an American Society for Training & Development (ASTD) panel
Founder and Lead-Facilitator
Leading From Within
Summarize the Leading From Within program for us.
Leading From Within is a powerful transformational three-day workshop designed to help you achieve optimal performance as a leader in both your personal and professional life. This means leading with a sense of purpose and passion, guided by core values—that transcend into all facets of your life so that what people see on the outside is a reflection of who you are on the inside. This is what’s known as Authentic Leadership. as the person only you are capable of being; your authentic self.
So how do you help people do that?
We provide a process throughout the workshop that allows participants to do some deep self-reflection and examination of their lives. This includes journaling, small group discussions, experiential activities, solo time, and meaningful group work.
And why is this so important, in your opinion?
Because only by knowing ourselves can we effectively lead ourselves. And we need to effectively lead ourselves before we can effectively lead others. It’s a three-step process that has to begin with knowing ourselves.
But how does knowing ourselves help in leading others?
It provides a consistency between who we are, how we act, and how we lead. In other words, when all three of these components are in alignment, we send a much more powerful and consistent message. And it doesn’t stop there. The more comfortable we become with ourselves, the more likely we are to show up as the same person wherever we go and in any situation we face, whether it’s professional or personal. What you see is what you get!
In my opinion, leaders who know themselves use internal measures to define who they are while leaders who don’t know themselves use external measures. Guess which one has a stronger and lasting foundation?
What’s unique about Leading From Within?
Most of the leadership programs that are offered out in the market are skill-based. I felt a strong desire to add an “awareness-based” experiential leadership program to the mix and thought it would be a good compliment to these other programs. I also wanted to create a program that truly taps into the physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual components of leadership. That’s why we utilize the both the indoor and outdoor classroom. And lastly, I wanted to create a cost-effective leadership program in the marketplace that would serve as an alternative to some of these other higher-priced programs that only a selected few in the organization can afford to attend.
What are the significant aspects of the program?
Of course I’d say everything since it is the culmination of the overall experience that makes this program so special. But if I had to break it down, I’d highlight the following:
Group Bonding: A lot of time is dedicated throughout the three days to creating a “group field” amongst participant that fosters safety, trust, security, and support for each other. This is essential in order for participants to trust one-another, open up, be vulnerable and hold each other accountable.
Book of Readings: We provide a Book of Readings for each participant and ask that they share favorite and meaningful readings throughout the program. Usually by day three there isn’t a dry eye in the room as the readings get more and more impactful.
Accountability Buddy: Early in the workshop participants obtain an accountability buddy for the duration of the program and beyond. Each buddy is expected to play the role of coach, mentor, feedback-partner and support-person for their respective buddy.
Feedback Sheets: Because this program is a laboratory of sorts, we provide ongoing feedback and coaching for participants throughout the program. One way we do this is through the use of large feedback sheets that hang on the wall of the indoor training room. Since every participant has their own feedback sheet, we ask all participants to write feedback on each other’s sheets during the program. This could be a comment, a compliment, or a suggestion of sorts. Needless to say, these sheets are full of valuable feedback by the end of the three days for participants to take back with them.
Evening Fireside Chats: For the evening sessions, we like to turn the lights down, build a fire, and do more in-depth sharing and connecting with one-another. As you might imagine, it’s a very powerful and often emotional setting for individual and group development.
Free Time: We purposely provide free time each afternoon for participants to rest, relax, and reflect.
Personal Presentations: On graduation day (the third day), participants are asked to present their personal vision presentation to the group as a kind of “rights of passage” from the workshop. Although some of the visions are still “works in progress,” they nevertheless are one of the more significant aspects of the program.
How many of these programs have you done?
Since 1998, we have held over 38 Leading From Within programs that have served thousands of participants and I’ve facilitated every one of them. We’ve brought the program to California, Indiana, Tennessee, and Illinois and always try to put on a public program annually here in Colorado. I also have mini-versions of the program (keynote speech, ½-day and full-day), but nothing is quite like the full three-day version.
How has the program withstood the test of time and usefulness?
We are going into our 17th year of presenting this program, which is a test of time in itself. I also think this program is needed now more than ever, especially given the value of honesty, authenticity and transparency in the world of business today. I would also point you to the hundreds of testimonials on the website from past participants who wanted to let us know how the program has impacted them years later.
How do you measure the effectiveness of this program?
One of the ways, other than the program evaluations we get from participants, is to look at the companies who regularly send members of their management team to the workshop, year after year. At last count, almost 70% of participants who enroll into the Leading From Within program come from organizations that we refer to as “alumni companies”: companies who have previously sent participants to the program. Just that statistic by itself points to the effectiveness of this program from the client perspective.
We also know that many accountability buddies continue to stay in touch well after the program.
Who can attend?
Anyone over 18 years of age can attend. Since this is an awareness-based workshop about becoming more effective leaders in our lives, it doesn’t matter whether someone is the CEO or a frontline worker…the experience and takeaways are the same.
Why only 8-16 participants?
The group cohesion is what makes this program work. Based on my experience, when you start adding more than 16 people, the groups gets too large and the “group field” isn’t as safe, secure, and trusting as a smaller group would be. Plus, we’ve found that there is greater accountability within a smaller group, both during and after the program.
Who are some of the bigger companies that have participated in the Leading From Within program?
Here are just a few:
· Lockheed Martin
· The Quizno’s Corporation
· Nextel Communications
· Blue Cross, Blue Shield
· Coors-Miller Brewing Company
· Vail Resorts
· Exempla Healthcare
· Nat’l Renewable Energy Laboratory
· Heritage Behavioral Health Care Center
· The City of Westminster
· Triple Crown Casinos (just to name a few)…
What does it cost to attend the Leading From Within program?
The all-inclusive fee for the three-day/three-night public program is $2,225 which includes:
· Room/board at Peaceful Valley Ranch
· Opening social hour
· Program notebook/materials
· A Leading From Within journal
· A copy of The Book of Readings
· A copy of Creating Authenticity: Meaningful Questions for Meaningful Moments
· An authentic Colorado hiking stick, signed by each participant in the workshop
· A complimentary post-coaching session for each individual
· The experience of a lifetime
The cost of the customized version of Leading From Within will vary depending on the number of participants, location, pre & post programs, etc. Ask Greg for a proposal.
And remember, we can bring the public program to any community as long as we can get a minimum of 8 participants. We’ll even help market it so that we can fill all 16 spots.
Do you do a complimentary “preview” version of Leading From Within for companies that want to get a taste of the program?
Yes, we will be more than happy to provide a sampler of the program along with some activities to help you get a feel for the program.
For additional information, what’s the best way for people to contact you?
Call or email me directly at:
Leading From Within