SPark Programme - Mid Sussex District Council
From a field of over 40 organisations bidding for this prestigious talent development programme, Learning 2XL was selected as provider because of our innovative and lively submission.
The brief was not the normal management development approach, but was to build up the potential of the Council's specialist professional officers, enabling them to make a stronger contribution to their service and a unique impact in their professional world.
The Specialist Professionals (or SParks - as they became known - not a typo!) undertook an individual assessment to find out their development needs and four modules were designed on the basis of this:
- 'We are all individuals' - heightening self awareness and creating a personal vision
- 'Rewarding Relationships' - understanding how to use emotional intelligence to influence, negotiate, and network.
- 'Aiming Higher' - thinking strategically and with vision, using creativity to achieve more.
- 'Making a Difference' - how to pull all this together and become a high impact performer.
We located each module/workshop in a venue that reflected the Mid Sussex community - a stately home, a postmodern art gallery, a county showground, a community-run hall, each one having its own inspiring or quirky quality.
The first cohort of 11 council officers are now rising stars in MSDC, taking a lead on a wider range of issues, broadening their responsibilities, speaking up with confidence, and stepping up into more senior positions.
The Council use a 'Talent Grid' - a matrix for assessing the potential and performance of selected individuals. Most of the SPark delegates were on the mid point, and would have been described as 'Core employees'. The SPark programme enabled them to progress to 'Trusted Professional' or 'High Impact Performer'.
The senior management's enthusiasm for the programme was palpable:
"We were excited by the passion shown by the 'SParks', throughout the programme, and an 'extraordinary blossoming' of talent. There is clear evidence that the participants have seized opportunities to undertake new challenges, applying skills learnt on 'SPark', not waiting for 'permission' but taking the initiative and coming up with new solutions. They now have the confidence to think outside of the traditional officer role."
Learning 2XL is currently leading a second version of the programme for a new cohort. We would like to thank MSDC for their encouragement and support from the start.