Ken Bratz Consulting at Heart of Leadership Development in Plano
Ken Bratz Consulting at Heart of Leadership Development in Plano
PLANO, TX — The mission of Leadership Plano is perhaps not much different than that of leadership resource programs in other thriving cities: Identify, educate and develop future leaders for the community and motivate them for civic, charitable and community involvement.
Where the difference may lie, though, is in the extra effort this group puts forth by exposing its volunteers to a unique experience called Leadership Adventure.
“In many ways, our group is much like others whose focus is on developing community awareness and educational and leadership skills,” says program director Andre’ Davidson, herself a Leadership Plano alumnus who has been associated with the program now for 10 years. “But much of our emphasis begins with those two days spent with Leadership Adventure. That’s where we build our foundation for the rest of the year.
“In programs such as ours, we work with people who want to be active in the growth and development of those communities,” said Davidson. “To reach that goal, they must first realize their own leadership potential and learn what leadership is all about. The Leadership Adventure program helps them to achieve that.
“In those two days there is a real bonding that takes place among a group of people who beforehand didn’t even know each other,’ said Davidson. “Once they return from that initial weekend we have a really connected group that’s ready to get to work. They have developed very close friendships, and share a real trust among themselves.”
Leadership Adventure, one of several management training programs available through the Palestine-based consulting group Ken Bratz Consulting, is designed to provide participants an awareness of their capability for leadership. The program, which focuses on learning through group activities that involve some form of physical effort, offers classroom training as well as hands-on challenges through three different areas: Adventure Learning, ROPES Courses and Experiential Exercises.
For example, one challenge course involves a maze of utility poles, cables, ropes and platforms. By cooperating with each other, participants are challenged to get through the maze by walking, climbing, or whatever means possible.
The process of working together helps to instill the value of working together, says management consultant and Ken Bratz Consulting owner Ken Bratz.
“Participants are not forced to do any of the exercises,” emphasizes Bratz, who said Ken Bratz Consulting has been offering the exercises as part of his program for more than 20 years. In most cases, however, once they realize the benefits derived from the exercises it’s pretty difficult to keep participants from trying, Bratz said.
Among those benefits, Bratz said, are such things as learning how to build relationships, develop self-confidence, and develop trust.
The activities also help participants to understand what they learned in the classroom and the value of making use of that information, said Davidson, who calls the training “invaluable.”
More than 500 volunteers selected for Leadership Plano have gone through the program in the last 20 years, Davidson said.
“You’re much more successful when you parlay the resources of all those individuals into one giant basket of skills," she said.
Using Leadership Adventure as their foundation better equips those involved with Leadership Plano for the next eight months of the nine-month program, Davidson said.
After establishing a foundation, Davidson said volunteers are much better equipped to deal with the challenges they face in working together and with community groups over the next eight months of the program.
“We’re all funny about people invading our space,” said Davidson. “Ken Bratz Consulting” program has been successful in helping us to get past that so we can move on to some trust-building things. They do a great job of making people feel comfortable while learning.
“There is no pressure, and there is lots of encouragement,” Davidson said. “It’s more like challenge by choice.”
"Leadership Adventure, which has been utilized in more than 300 sessions since its inception, was originally designed as the front end of Chamber of Commerce leadership programs," said Bratz. It has since been altered to fit other applications, including extreme culture change processes, management training, team building, and systems renewal.
The program operates on a number of premises, one of which is that change in organizations can be much easier if a few things are done right, said Bratz.
“Productivity of groups can increase exponentially if the group members are allowed to communicate and participate in the decisions affecting the groups,” Bratz said. Leadership Adventure lays the groundwork for establishing an air of communication and participation, he said.
“Group members find themselves in physical situations in which hands-on exercises teach them trust and communication, both of which are key elements in leadership,” explained Bratz. “Individual behavior change is not only possible, it is sometimes desired, and with group input it can be achieved much faster and with much less pain.”
Bratz touts the benefits of experiential training, saying it provides the element of physical involvement that classroom training alone sometimes cannot afford.
“This physical element makes the exercise more closely resemble an actual work experience,” he said. “When a problem is given to a group, the members have the opportunity to relate it to work situations. In the course of a day, they can simulate four to six ‘projects’ that provide sequential learning.
“What is learned on the first exercise can be used to simplify the solving of the second exercise and so on. At the end of the day, answers to the question ‘What will you do different tomorrow from what you have been doing?’ are easily identified.”
Leadership Adventure is just one of the components of a three-fold program at Ken Bratz Consulting called The IMPACT Process.
First, The IMPACT PROCESS provides an infrastructure that manages, measures and encourages whatever change takes place within the company to make sure the new process becomes the “new way of doing things.” Next, it serves to create goals, direction, language and trust so communication between all parties is clear and everyone understands the goal or mission. And finally, it teaches the organizational and individual skills needed to get the best out of the process.
To learn more about Ken Bratz Consulting, The IMPACT Process and other programs offered by the company, or to schedule a session, call 1-800-657-2235.
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