It’s that time again—the start of a new year, right on the heels of a great passing year. This year, however, it’s the transition between two decades. On my holiday break I couldn’t help but think back over the past year and also over the past decade to reflect on how I’ve changed and on how I would like to grow going forward.

There is an old adage that says that looking back on things should only take as much of your viewing attention as looking in a car’s rear-view mirror. It’s best to look forward most of the time, but some looking back is wise.

I just went through our alumni leadership audit, which you likely completed in the final month of your LEAD 24/7 experience. I made some tweaks based on recent changes we’ve made to the content of LEAD 24/7, and as I went through it, I couldn’t help but think how I’ve grown in several of the areas over the past decade and how that growth happened.

As we usually do in this first post of the year, we invite you to take the LEAD 24/7 alumni audit yourself to see how you grew in 2019 and how you would like to grow in 2020. You can find a PDF of the audit here.

I want to use this first post of 2020 to give you a brief update on the progress of our purpose and vision for those who are interested. Regarding our purpose, we are as committed as ever to helping West Michigan become the best place in the country for growing leaders. What Silicon Valley is to technology, we will be to leadership. We see this happening in small pockets of your companies. It’s exciting to see, and we know these pockets will continue to expand over the coming years.

Regarding our vision, there are now over 300 people who have participated in LEAD 24/7, and we are on track to hit 1,000 participants by 2025, two years ahead of our original plan. This year we plan to launch ten to twelve more cohorts, which means 90+ more people going through LEAD 24/7. We also plan to establish a coaching space in Grand Rapids, making it more convenient for many to attend their coaching sessions. So cool!

Our partnership with DISHER on the LEAD 24/7 Focus program has gone well, with eight cohorts launched. LEAD 24/7 Focus offers several different four- to five-month programs based on our content. LEAD 24/7 Focus came about partly because of alumni demand. If you’d like to learn more about this approach that we collaboratively started in 2018, please check out this brochure.

We launched our first non-profit cohort in September. This cohort is made up of nine executive directors of some of West Michigan’s most important non-profit organizations. LEAD 24/7 Non-Profit is being led by Patrick Cisler and Kurt Wassink—both alumni of LEAD 24/7. I’m coaching both of them each month on the design, and so far the participants have expressed very positive feedback about their experience.

Our first C-level cohort wrapped up in 2019 as well. The cohort was made up of five CEOs, one CFO, one COO, and two VPs. It went so well that we launched another cohort in October of 2019, and we plan to launch another one or two this year. Much like LEAD 24/7 Focus, the C-level LEAD 24/7 came about because of alumni feedback. 

And finally, for the third year in a row we are launching alumni small groups for those of you who want to continue to review LEAD 24/7 content with other like-minded alums. We continue to make improvements to the small-group process, and we’re excited about the groups that will launch very soon.

All of this reflection on our work makes me keenly aware that none of these numbers make any difference unless each of you are truly applying the key concepts you took from the program. All of us at Leading by DESIGN continue to work at growing our leadership behaviors, and we trust that you are also challenging yourself in the same way.

Please let one of us know if you would like to walk through your audit with us or catch up on how you’re doing.

Thanks, and be amazing as you start 2020!

Image by Natalia Medd. Used under CC by 2.0 license.