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GL360 a new idea for leadership development

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​The Institute for Community College Development's (ICCD) newly unveiled Gravitational Leadership 360 Skills Inventory (GL360) represents a generational leap beyond its predecessors. More than an accurate measure of leadership skills, GL360 is actually a creative toolkit that can add significant value to the community college and the careers of its staff.
 
GL360 is a succession-planning solution focused on leadership development. It gathers input from multiple perspectives and uses the data to illuminate and develop competencies identified by the American Association of Community Colleges as critical to leadership success, among them: organizational integrity, resource development, community college advocacy, sustainability leadership, and core skills including communication, collaboration and professionalism.
 
Delivered by way of a secure Web site, GL360 is partly a networking site, where open communication is encouraged by safeguards on anonymity. It's partly a role-playing environment in which you are cast in the role of a leader. And it's partly a personal workshop, where you can identify your talents, grow your skills and even formulate a custom-tailored career development plan.
 
Most participants complete the inventory in about 15 minutes, rating themselves in 45 statements about leadership in community colleges and leadership at large.
 
With the increased focus on teamwork in today’s world, it is helpful for employees to receive feedback from a full cadre of sources that have multiple perspectives. Research on the impact of the GL360 inventory indicates that such feedback, presented confidentially, is more direct, more honest and more likely to affect and improve job performance than stand-alone, noncontinuous programs.
 
GL360 includes a full circle of confidential feedback from those who observe the participant as a peer, a direct report, a supervisor or an external partner. The observers are chosen by the participant, not the college, and their identities are known only by the participant and not by the college.
 
The participant sees only averages of aggregated observer ratings, so is unable to associate any rating with any individual observer. Accordingly, summary reports are sent directly to participants, not to the college, thereby maximizing the likelihood of frank and thoughtful feedback.
 
Once participant and observer inventories are completed, the GL360 Web site generates a series of reports using intuitive graphics and explanatory text to analyze the results in several key contexts:
 
Strengths analysis. Your strengths are your greatest talents. They are the foundation on which you can acquire and improve the skills associated with success in leadership.
 
Total competency analysis. Effective leaders understand how they are perceived by others. They use these understandings to build self-awareness and chart their own development plans, which include reflection, realistic goal setting and practical action steps.
 
Gap analysis. A gap analysis helps the participant identify differences between their self-ratings and the ratings of their observers. Differences offer some of the best opportunities for developing awareness about how you perceive yourself and how others perceive you. They are powerful tools for evaluating and improving leadership performance.
 
Critical leadership competencies. These are the competencies identified in research as critical catalysts that distinguish successful performers at all levels.
 
Sustainability leadership competencies. This feedback highlights the participant's sense of interconnectedness and responsibility for shaping their college, its local environment and the world beyond.
 
Targeted college competencies. These competencies identify what is important in order to lead in the participant's own specific college culture.
 
The participant also receives a summary report that shows the overall results of the above reports in a simple bar graph.
 
To help participants get the most from GL360, ICCD offers low-cost, at-a-distance, optional feedback coaching in how to interpret the results and incorporate them in an individualized professional development plan.
 
Research and results from GL360 demonstration participants show that the effectiveness of GL360 is enhanced when coupled with the feedback coaching.
 
Although the college does not see the participant's individual results, it does receive a college report containing valuable statistical data on the comprehensive results obtained by its pool of GL360 participants—data the college can use in planning and assessing its training and development programs.
 
As more college professionals use GL360, the benefits to colleges become both qualitative and cumulative. The tool is also affordable.  In addition, it offers options such as expanding the inventory to include locally specified content and acquiring local campus expertise in managing the GL360 process on an ongoing basis while incurring only a modest one-time cost for the necessary train-the-trainer instruction.
 
For individuals, GL360 provides a wealth of knowledge as a basis for career growth. For colleges, it provides superior leadership development that liberates the human resources budget from repetitive, costly travel expenditures to fund off-site training. In a phrase: unlimited value at minimal cost.
 
For more information on GL360, visit www.ICCD.cornell.edu.
 
Riddell is director of the Institute for Community College Development at Cornell University. She is also co-creator of the Gravitational Leadership 360 Skills Inventory.
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