The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Goddard’s Leadership Alchemy is a unique, award-winning program regarded by the Federal Consulting Group as a “Federal Best Practice”. The 10-month program, which uses a whole-person approach to leadership development, was piloted in 2002 by Goddard’s Financial and Resources Management Community members.
In 2003, the pilot program expanded across the Center for scientists and researchers, engineers, and administrative employees, both supervisors and non-supervisors. The program still receive acclamation from Goddard, the Center’s eadquarters, and other participating federal agencies.
In 2002, Leadership Alchemy bagged the NASA Chief Financial Officer’s Financial and Resources Management Improvement Award. In 2003, the Goddard Exceptional Achievement Team Honor Award was granted to the program designers and implementers.
Leadership Alchemy is considered to be a transformational program wherein those who participate design, plan and bring forward their visions about leadership. Participants are offered adequate opportunities to fully realize their visions.
During the program, participants put emphasis on improving key competencies and learning in holistic and first-hand fashion.
Key competencies include:
- Relating to Others
- Working to Build Trust and Supportive Relationships and Networks
- Influencing Others
- Demonstrating Generous Listening Skills
- Leading & Managing Change
- Communicating a Vision for Change
- Planning and Implementing Organizational Change
- Leading & Managing People
- Promoting Teamwork
- Appreciating the Richness of Diversity and Utilizing the Full Range of Contributions of Others
- Resolving Conflict
The purpose of the program is to produce leaders who are forward thinking, and who have the aforementioned key competencies required to lead an organization whose mission and outcomes benefit the American citizens. The program aims to make its participants as “Ambassadors of Positive Change”.
The Leadership Alchemy program stresses five key practices. Here are the following:
- Action Learning
- Appreciative Inquiry
- Developing the Presence of a Leader
- Emotional Intelligence and Relationship Building
- Reading and Reflection
According to the program, participants will:
- Gain personal insight and leadership mastery
- Understand the Organization and Leadership Competencies to Create the Desired Future
- Transform Knowledge and Skill into Wisdom and Action
During the program, each participant receives:
Workshop learning: Makes best use of learning and establishes a learning community during one month (30 days) of workshop days.
Coaching: A certified coach directs individuals and teams to build skills and identify challenges.
Learning in Teams: Learning Teams comprise of 4-5 members who support each other in exemplifying and being cognizant of each member’s leadership vision and completing the assigned tasks.
Mentoring: Participants have the privilege of regularly interacting with middle or senior leaders to address leadership issues by using a specially prepared Dialogue Guides.
Interaction with Leaders and Managers: Participants spend 3-5 work days following a middle or senior manager and then prepare a report determining their acquired learning and experiences.
Practical Assignments: Participants will get to take on action-learning assignments to optimize learning while providing direct organizational benefits.
Special Support: Program Facilitators will provide personalized support to participants through reading, commenting, and coaching based on the Learning Reports.
Assessments: There will be several self-administered assessments, including DISC and EQ.
According to the Leadership Alchemy program’s website, participants who have complete the program will have acquired enhanced competencies to:
- Influence others by
- Coordinating effective action
- Implementing and sustaining strategic change
- Building trust among coworkers
- Sustaining a positive mood in the organization
- Declare a compelling vision that engages others by
- Being resilient
- Being present
- Sustaining lifelong learning
- Being a forward-thinking leader
- Build and sustain high-performing teams by
- Coaching and enabling other team members
- Designing leadership conversations
- Utilizing the full range of others’ diverse contributions
- Building effective networks