The Leadership Alchemy Program

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
  1. Working to Build Trust and Supportive Relationships and Networks
  2. Influencing Others
  3. Demonstrating Generous Listening Skills
  • Leading & Managing Change
  1. Communicating a Vision for Change
  2. Planning and Implementing Organizational Change
  • Leading & Managing People
  1. Promoting Teamwork
  2. Appreciating the Richness of Diversity and Utilizing the Full Range of Contributions of Others
  3. 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:

  1. Action Learning
  2. Appreciative Inquiry
  3. Developing the Presence of a Leader
  4. Emotional Intelligence and Relationship Building
  5. 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

What Makes Good Leadership? A Look at Federal Leadership Development Programs

What makes a good leader? Good leadership is not just having the capability to traverse through stormy waters and adopt changes, but to also strive for goals that the society considers fitting.

Quality leadership engages people and it’s very much interlaced with positive social and economic change. The main work of a respectable leader should be to inspire and encourage his or her people to become better leaders. A great leader educates society the importance of creating a real, positive difference in the world, how to deliver a sense of purpose, commitment, and integrity to their work.

Apart from providing government grants, the federal government provides leadership development programs designed to make and shape the greatest leaders in the federal government. There are government-wide programs and standards for executive development, from the Office of Personnel Management to the Veterans Administration.

Here’s a list of a few government programs that can make an outstanding leader out of you:

Aspiring Leaders Development Program

The Aspiring Leaders Development Program is an exceedingly exhaustive program for U.S. Department of Commerce employees who are presently in grades GS 7-12 or something similar. The program offers leadership development opportunities and identifies core skills and expertise recognized by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). The supervisor’s participation in this program is critical to success. The basis of the program includes formal training and leadership development activities, which results in a well-trained workforce highly qualified for leadership roles within the Department.

Executive Core Qualifications (Senior Executive Service)

The Office of Personal Management (OPM) has established five executive core qualifications (ECQs). The ECQs describe the required skills to form a “federal corporate culture” that strives to gain results, serves its customers, and shape successful teams and alliances within and outside the organization.

The ECQs are needed for entry to the level of Senior Executive Service (SES). It’s used by many agencies and departments in “selection, performance management, and leadership development” for executive and management positions. The ECQs measure executive experience and potential non-technical know-how. SES successful performances necessitates proficiency in each ECQ.

Agricultural Research Service: Executive PEAK

The ARS Executive PEAK is a fiercely competitive leadership development program that offers specialized experiences and training for future ARS executive leaders. PEAK is rigorous, exhaustive and designed for highly skilled and proficient workers. The objective of this program from the U.S. Department of Agriculture is to foster a culturally diverse group of highly trained and qualified workforce as future ARS leaders who have the vision and can think strategically, are extremely adaptable, and able to lead and adopt to changes while overseeing a multicultural workforce.

Coast Guard Academy Institute for Leadership

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security provides opportunities, training and exposure to cadets through its Coast Guard Academy Institute for Leadership program. This Academy community equips corps of cadets and staff with leadership training, mentoring, experience and reflection to foster their development as quality leaders. It also includes all groups who lead, teach, coach or interact with the cadets including staff and faculty, coaches, and other personnel within the Academy.

VA Leadership Development Portal

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has introduced the VA Leadership Development Portal where it’s a social platform that connects American citizens to ask questions to leaders and colleagues across the VA Department.

The portal also offers a self-paced course wherein employees can develop their leadership skills, find the right mentor, collaborate with colleagues, and enter a working group. The portal requires you to register, so you have to get a email address first then use it to open an account.


OPM’s Center for Leadership Development Gets America’s Work Done

The federal government has experienced transformations for centuries. This transformation comes with a new administration breaking ground for four years, or with changing lineups from the latest appointed officers and agency leaders. So, how does real change takes place within the federal government? By having great leaders.

Being a great, quality leader takes hard work. It entails the burning desire to positively revolutionize an entire an organization, and comes with its share of critics and defeatists, and those who prevent positive changes because it impinges their personal schemes developed over the years thru the expense of the organization and its goals.

But, did you know that the federal government, aside from providing government grants to those who are in financial need, also offers programs for cultivating great leaders?

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s Center for Leadership Development (CLD) is committed to transforming leaders to better serve the government and the American people. OPM works in a wide array of categories to round up recruits, retain, and recognize a distinguished workforce for its U.S. citizens.

OPM works to serve in many ways. This include:

  • Managing federal job announcements at USA Jobs and establish policies on hiring procedures nationwide.
  • Conducting background investigations for potential employees and security authorizations across the federal government, with volumes of cases every year.
  • Defending and upholding Federal civil service merit systems, and ensuring that the Federal workforce applies fair practices in all personnel management aspects.
  • Managing pension benefits for retired government employees and their families. It also oversees health and other insurance programs for its government employees and retirees.
  • Providing development programs, training and other management resources for federal workers and agencies.
  • Taking the lead in developing, assessing and enforcing new government policies associated with personnel issues.
  • Working to make the federal government as the nation’s model employer for the 21st century.

For aspiring leaders, it’s critical to continue education through certification or degree programs to better develop skills in the management, leadership or executive levels within the federal government. Irrespective of agency or specialty, sharpening and improving your own skill levels as well as honing the skills of those that surround you spell out better public service and greater personal fulfillment.

With OPM’s CLD, it introduces a set of certificate and training programs aimed to meet your leadership requirements no matter what position you are working at within the federal government.

Find out which program(s) suit you best:

LEAD Certificate Program

The Leadership Education and Development (LEAD) Certificate Program emphasizes on the exact career track training requirements of project managers, team leaders, supervisors, or SES-level executives in the federal government.

Executive Master of Public Administration Degree

OPM’s CLD’s Management Development Centers have built a strategic alliance with the American University for individuals in the public and nonprofit sectors pursuing a Master of Public Administration degree.

Academic Credit

The American Council on Education (ACE) approves courses for graduate or undergraduate credits. Credit hours differ depending on the course’s content and length (basically ranging from two to four hours.

Agency Partners Program

OPM’s CLD houses full-time national sales representatives all set to assist in selecting the most fitting leadership development training to reach your career goals.

Executive in Residence Program

If you have something to offer about leadership, this is an ideal opportunity to bestow your experience and knowledge to future leaders.