OPM adding another retention tool: LEAD program

Wednesday - 6/30/2010, 7:27pm EDT

John Berry

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From "OPM shaping future leaders in a new way" by Max Cacas on FederalNewsRadio.com:

"Countless studies and congressional hearings have revealed that leadership training and professional development are key to recruiting and retaining a federal workforce capable of operating at a high level.

"The inaugural Office of Personnel Management Leadership Education and Development (LEAD) certificate program graduation yesterday marked the end of a high-profile training series that participants say will help them meet the complex challenges they face on the job every day.

"'The techniques that I have learned in some of these courses have really gone a long way to making me more productive and actually allowing me to build teams of people who can get the job done,' says Edward Melton III, a LEAD graduate. Melton is the deputy chief of the commander's planning group at the Army's Ft. Monroe in Virginia.

"OPM says the LEAD program is intended to empower 'federal leaders to take charge of their professional development by providing a clear path to leadership training that's right for them and their careers.'

"OPM Director John Berry says as many as 200 more feds are currently participating in the LEAD program, with the next class expected to graduate one year from now. He challenged yesterday's LEAD graduating class to conduct themselves with 'their integrity intact', and to be 'creative listeners' as one key to being good leaders.

"There are four tracks available for LEAD participants:

* Project/team lead (for agency program managers)
* Supervisor
* Manager
* Executive

"The program gives participants up to three years to complete their training, which consists of five courses. Each is meant to provide employees with crucial skills, policy knowledge and leadership ability.

"Seminars are offered at OPM's Management Development Centers in Shepherdstown, WV, and Aurora, Colo.; as well as at the Federal Executive Institute in Charlottesville, Va.

"Kay Ely, OPM's associate director of Human Resources Solutions, says the LEAD certification offers participants 'tangible proof of commitment to improvement.'

"Walter Kennedy, LEAD graduate and deputy chief of science technology policy at the Defense Department told Federal News Radio, 'I think this has been a wonderful course. It's very well put-together. Many of the speakers are people with primary knowledge of the issue that they're talking about, [but] they're still very motivated, they're still very animated about their topics. The interchange in the classrooms is terrific.'

"Kennedy finds LEAD's interagency cooperative nature particularly worthwhile.

"'It's really wonderful after doing the same thing day after day to sit in an academic environment for a little while and have an exchange with high-level members of other agencies and find out that your problems are the same, and very different at the same time,' says Kennedy.

"Monday's ceremony honored LEAD's first seven graduates. Along with Melton and Kennedy, the class includes:

* Department of Defense Physical Scientist Dr. Stewart Bennie
* Army Knowledge Management Officer Jon Boren
* Department of Homeland Security program manager Vincent Dumas
* Defense Commissary Agency business systems manager Debbie Emory
* DHS CIO in the Office of Operations, Coordination and Planning Harry McDavid

I played highlights of Director Berry's speech to the graduates; you can hear the entire speech by clicking the audio link.