CEO: Caroline Riseboro
Headquarters: Ontario, Canada
INCLUSIVE LEADERSHIP FROM PROCESS TO PURPOSE
GLOBAL DEVELOPMENT AGENCY SETS BASELINE FOR INCLUSION
Global development agency Plan International Canada is a movement for change, mobilizing millions of people around the world to support social justice for children in developing countries. The organization works to end poverty and improve the lives of children around the world.
In 2016, Plan International Canada launched the myLeadershipCafe to create an online portal for internal and external training, helpful resources and a ‘pick and pack’ toolkit for all leaders across the organization. “The purpose was to be transparent in our expectations and understanding of leadership and provide a baseline of leadership as it relates to how we operate culturally with inclusion,” Vice President of Organizational Effectiveness Deborah Singh said.
With this intent, the organization created the opportunity for staff to hold leaders accountable for development and performance aligned with the organization’s values. This feeds into a validation metric on its employee survey where it calls out staff leadership.
LEARNING ABOUT LEADERSHIP
The agency’s myLeadershipCafe leverages customized internal training, integrates external training opportunities and learning from external providers. Its platform is self-directed to allow individuals to learn more about leadership. “We believe that every individual has the capacity to lead and with this in mind created café to instill empowerment and shared ownership over one’s learning development supported by the organization,” Singh said. “It is inclusive by nature and virtual which gives staff access 24/7 and that is helpful given our international work in over 60 countries worldwide,’ she added.
The benefits of the initiative are of interest to staff for learning more about leadership in a non-intrusive way that enhances the value the organization attributes to leadership. Under the program, staff members’ engagement has been significant with the launch of the organization’s myLeadershipEdge, as an extension to the training. It is a suite of one hour booster sessions on key topical leadership areas. “We also ensured that our Ottawa staff and those remotely could engage as well which is critical to us in our approach to make this accessible,” Singh said.
INVESTING IN LEADERSHIP
The café formalizes how the organization invests in leadership. It starts with a custom designed three-day Leadership Essentials training for all People Leaders, a customized two-day session for senior management through CEO and then a one-day Aspiring Leaders training for those who do not lead today but one day hope too. “This has created the foundation of leadership at Plan,” Singh said.
In related areas, Plan International Canada is also piloting an Inclusive Leadership post graduate certificate with a cohort of leaders at all levels of the organization. “If we determine there is value (which is currently the case), we will formalize this as essential training for our leaders and create custom program learning for our staff through Centennial College,” Singh said. Success will lead to leveraging the training internationally for leaders across the organisations over 8,000 people operating in more than 60 countries.
“This is driving growth in many ways as it is empowering our leaders to lead from a position of knowledge and strength based on the tools and resources they have been provided,” Singh said. Under the program, staff members use the same language around leadership, performance, contribution and engagement.
“It is a great development track for those who aspire to lead or those who wish to continue to lead in a way that embraces our culture and values,” Singh said. The program is positively impacting growth of the organization and the culture as leaders continue doing the right thing for an organization improving lives around the world.