Creating Excellence Learning Lab Series: Teams, Lateral Leadership, and Continuous Improvement

By Richard Pennington posted 08-02-2020 09:40


NIGP: The Institute for Public Procurement has built a 10-part Learning Labs series around the 10 chapters in Seeing Excellence: Learning from Great Procurement Teams  Each participant will receive an ePub copy of the book as part of the registration.  Each Lab’s registration page (links provided below) includes the book’s Introduction and first chapter as a preview.

     The 10 2-hour labs are held monthly. They are "stand alone"; registration for the whole series is not required. There are recurring themes, of course, lateral leadership among them. One of the motivations for the book was the fact that many professionals spend much of their careers in small group settings where they have no authority over teammates and have to rely on lateral leadership principles to get things done.

     We'll have at least one invited guest each month  They not only have insight into the monthly lab topic—many were showcased in the book—but they illustrate the dimensions of leadership.  As the labs get closer, and schedules are firmed up, the guests' names will be shown on the registration page for the lab. 
     What makes these labs exciting is the opportunity to spend two hours with others in interactive sessions experimenting with tools that can help you get better as a leader, as a team, and as an organization. Creating excellence.
     Here is a description of the 10 Learning Labs:

Part I: Expand the Team’s Thinking

 Learning Lab 1: Focus the Team’s Purpose
Compelling purpose is the compass that guides effort, decisions, and learning.  After a short introduction about the purpose of this series, we’ll focus on the power of purpose and its central role in leadership and team effectiveness.
Guest: Dugan Petty, former Alaska and Oregon CPO, Oregon CIO, former President of NASCIO and NASPO
Click here for the registration page. Lab Date: August 12, 2020, 2:00-4:00 Eastern. 

Learning Lab 2: Find Opportunities: Practice the Art of the Question
By asking the question, “what if?,” you start the process of change.  Questions are central to team engagement and innovation.  Edgar Schein coined the phrase humble inquiry to blend together leadership and the power of questions. Curiosity and inquiry is the spark that motivates change and teammates. Learn how in this Lab.  
Guest: Danielle Hinz, CPPO, Amazon Business Public Sector Team, former King County, WA CPO and former City of Longmont, CO Purchasing Manager
Click here for the registration page. Lab Date: September 16, 2020, 2:00-4:00 Eastern. 

Learning Lab 3: Learn from the Stars
Best practices. Benchmarking. What are they and when are they useful? And what are the unintended consequences of action, the systems perspective? This Lab will look at benchmarking and identify questions used to assess their utility. It will end with a perspective on systems thinking.
Guest: Edward Haines, Vice President of Procurement, Hillsborough County Aviation Authority/Tampa International Airport, recipient of the NIGP Pareto Accreditation
Click here for the registration page. Lab Date: October 14, 2020, 2:00-4:00 Eastern. 

Learning Lab 4: Step to Their Side Often: Help Mold and Promote the Team
There are specific actions taken during a team’s lifecycle that improve a team’s prospects for success. The Tuckman model—forming, storming, norming, performing, and (added later) adjourning—is used to illuminate those actions and highlight the internal or external coaching that teams may need at the early, midpoint, and later stages of the team’s life. Learn some tools to help improve team effectiveness.
Guest: Valerie Scott, CPPB, Purchasing & Contracts Manager, City of Longmont, Colorado; graduate of the 2019-2020 class of NIGP’s Leaders Edge program
Click here for the registration page. Lab Date: November 18, 2020, 2:00-4:00 Eastern. 

Part II: Focus the Team’s Attention

Learning Lab 5: Use Just Enough Structure: Plan, Communicate, Follow-Up
Teams have specific tasks to perform. Project management skills are important to move a team from the early establishment of purpose and goals to achieving its objectives. Participants will learn how to engage stakeholders, plan backwards, and think ahead during implementation.
Click here for the registration page. Lab Date: December 9, 2020, 2:00-4:00 Eastern. 

Learning Lab 6: Use Meaningful Measures of Merit
In an exploding world of big data, understanding quantitative methods (like basic statistics and variation) is important to identifying and assessing trends and patterns. Moreover, measurement is critical to assessing procurement office operations: performance and cost savings. Using real-life examples, this session will help participants develop an approach to measurement. And introduce an Excel feature particularly useful for RFP evaluations: conditional formatting.
Click here for the registration page. Lab Date: January 13, 2021, 2:00-4:00 Eastern. 

Learning Lab 7: First Ask How?  Then Why? Then Decide?
Author Simon Sinek says, “First ask why.”  Good advice for strategic organizational planning, but for procurement teams solving problems, the first step is to understand the “as is” state. Then ask why to understand the value of steps in the process and the root cause of problems. Decision making is a process, chock full of possible errors, and this Lab will explore those errors and ways to reduce them.
Click here for the registration page. Lab Date: February, 17, 2021, 2:00-4:00 Eastern.

Part III: Sustain the Team’s Efforts

Learning Lab 8: Manage Risk and Change
Risk management and change management are two sides of the same coin. Procurement professionals identify, assess, and mitigate risks. Sometimes operationally—think hurricane or pandemic—or more modestly when a team plans a large conference. Sometimes resistance by employees and even suppliers is the greatest risk—think p-card and e-procurement implementations. This lab will explore well known models and tools for risk and change management.
Click here for the registration page. Lab Date: March 17, 2021, 2:00-4:00 Eastern. 

Learning Lab 9: Keep Learning and Make It Stick!
Teams encounter learning in two primary ways. They look back at their team performance and make adjustments going forward. They also have projects that may involve application of adult learning principles. Have you ever specified or evaluated train-the-trainer requirements or proposals in an RFP? Have you been on a team in an NIGP chapter that set up a training event? This Lab will provide tools to make you and your team more effective at learning.
Click here for the registration page. Lab Date: April 14, 2021, 2:00-4:00 Eastern. 

Learning Lab 10: Lead Laterally: Choose to Help
The theme of team leadership travels through this series.  This Lab will distinguish the dimensions of leadership, from transactional through team to transformational leadership. We’ll focus our attention though on five behaviors of effective team leaders. How might leadership in larger organizations be different from team leadership? This session will end by challenging the participants to Find the Gap, exercise leadership, and begin the process of change. 
Click here for the registration page. Lab Date: May 19, 2021, 2:00-4:00 Eastern