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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 built a 10-part Learning Labs series around the 10 chapters in Seeing Excellence: Learning from Great Procurement Teams. 


The 2-hour labs are held monthly; the remaining Labs are shown here. 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. Registration is not limited to government employees.

     We 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 are 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.

     The first six Labs beginning in August covered the role of purpose in team performance; the importance and use of questions in team facilitation and leadership; best practices, benchmarks, and systems thinking; team development; project management; and measurement. Here is a description of the remaining four Learning Labs:

Part II: Focus the Team’s Attention

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.

Jason Soza, Vice President, Government Sourcing Solutions; former Alaska Chief Procurement Officer; former president-elect, National Association of State Procurement Officials; ASQ Certified Six Sigma Black Belt.

Douglas Richins, former Utah Chief Procurement Officer; former CEO, NASPO ValuePoint; and past president of the National Association of State Procurement Officials. 

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.

John Adler, CPPO, Instructor, National Transit Institute, Rutgers. Formerly: Vice President of Procurement, Dallas Area Rapid Transit; and Arizona State Procurement Director.

Lourdes Coss, CPPO, author, consultant, John Maxwell certified coach; NIGP and American Management Association instructor. Formerly: Chief Procurement Officer City of Houston and Cook County; Director of Procurement, Public Building Commission of Chicago and University of Illinois at Chicago; and Managing Deputy CPO at City of Chicago.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. 

Barb Johnson, M.P.A. (Finance), CPPO, CPPB, NIGP-CPP, NIGP Instructor; former procurement officer for the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction and the Columbus Regional Airport Authority in Ohio; 2014 Recipient of NIGP's Distinguished Service Award.

Laura Shelters, M. Ed. (Business Education); Director, NIGP Content Research & Development; higher education certificates in training and development, leadership, and project management; nine-years experience in curriculum development and instructional design. 

Learning Lab 10: Lead Laterally: Choose to Help

NIGP has converted this final Lab to a webinar free for all members. The theme of team leadership travels through this series.  This webinar 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.

Link here for the webinar registration page. 
Webinar Date: May 19, 2021, 2:00-4:00 Eastern

Sue Wheater, Property/Contracts Coordinator, Montrose Regional Airport; formerly Procurement and Contracts Administrator, Montrose County, Colorado.

Jack Pellegrino, NIGP-CPP, CPPO, CPCM; Director of Purchasing and Contracting, San Diego County, California; and 2021 President, California Association of Public Procurement Officials (CAPPO).