Blog Viewer

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. 

Each participant receives 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 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 four Labs beginning in August covered expansion of a team’s thinking: the role of purpose; the importance and use of questions in team facilitation and leadership; best practices, benchmarks, and systems thinking; and team development. Here is a description of the remaining six Learning Labs:

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.
Guest: Dr. Dan Price is the author of Takeoff! The Introduction to Project Book that will make your projects take off and fly! Dr. Price is an aviator, a retired U.S. Air Force officer,  a Project Management Professional (PMP), and the principal of Winning Ways Management, a leadership and management coaching and consulting company.
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.

Guest: Paul Brennan, Purchasing Director, County of Rockland, New York and President at ProcurePath.  He is the 2016 Recipient of the NIGP Albert H. Hall Memorial Award. 
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.
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.
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