Ignite your senior team

March 29, 2021 · by Alvarez Porter Group · Filed Under Blogposts on Leading Staff, Choices, Featured · Leave a Comment

Ignite the talent and energy of your people

The Ignite program is available now to unions and nonprofits interested in developing their managers and senior teams to meet the moment on equity, development-centered, and results-focused leadership of people and teams.

If you are leading staff in a nonprofit or labor union, then you likely are doing it as one of many hats you wear.  You probably got where you are because of your ability to DO the work. But you won’t be successful now unless you master the ability to work with and through others. The Ignite program was created to fill an obvious gap – there is not enough management training available that comes from a racial justice and social justice perspective.  However, it has evolved to address the fact that it isn’t just individual managers who need to change.  We have to pay attention to the culture and practices of our organizations – their systems and structures – if we are to become the powerful forces for justice we want to be.

The competencies and practices of being an anti-racist manager and leader are as intertwined and complex as human beings are.  So to create a path for learning and change, we studied neuroscience, social history, and contemporary movements and developed a model to describe what is needed.  The Ignite Framework has three core principles, five domains, and twelve core competencies.  Gaining understanding and competency in these areas will make you more resourceful and effective.  Even more importantly, it will allow you to access your strengths and your joy in doing this work.

The Ignite program is a 3-month learning journey for individual leaders and senior teams to learn fundamentals of good management, equity-centered practices, and gain transformational insights on their own strengths and potential.

Three Core PRINCIPLES to Ignite 

START WITH YOU: Know yourself well. Connect with your purpose. Own your power. Each and every time you want to change something or someone that isn’t working “out there”, start by checking in with yourself: your mind, your body, and your heart.

CENTER EQUITY: White supremacy and patriarchy is deeply embedded in our economic system and institutions.  Because we all live in this society, even those organizations designed to dismantle racism and gender-based oppression are at risk of perpetuating the very systems they abhor.  It is therefore fundamental to your role as a manager – which comes with its own historically compromised power and privilege – that you center equity and apply a race and gender justice lens.

A GROWTH MINDSET: Social justice work is underresourced and under pressure.  That can give way to a feeling of never being having enough or being enough.  This feeling of scarcity and inadequacy creates a deficit-oriented culture and mindset that saps energy and hope.  There is another way.  Shifting to a growth mindset allows you to see the potential in yourself and others.  A growth mindset is an antidote to the false refuge of judgment and self-criticism.

Five DOMAINS that Ignite

Focus matters.  You have limited attention, resources, and time.  Here are the five domains from which you lead.  Learn how to shift your focus between these areas and to build sustainable practices to lead most effectively.

MASTER USE OF SELF. Leading people is fundamentally about emotional intelligence. To exercise EQ, you will need to take care of yourself and find your inner calm.  When you are centered and calm, you can read others’ cues, and empathize with multiple perspectives.  Master your skills to influence others.

ORGANIZE THE WORK. The capacity and effectiveness of your team depend in large part on what the work is, the resources applied, and how it is organized. Roles and responsibilities create the structure; and the skill of delegation The skills of delegation and project management create freedom and boundaries to excel.

GROW YOUR PEOPLE. The more people learn and grow and believe in themselves the more you will get done. Staff development is not an isolated event, it is a culture and practice for how the work gets done. The conversation is key.

BUILD POWERFUL TEAMS. A team is a small group of people working together to achieve a common goal. Leading teams includes helping them form and structuring in collaboration. Even when the team is set up for success, maintaining trust in the team and navigating disagreements are essential skills.

FOCUS ON RESULTS.   Numbers bring focus and clarity, which is why your capacity and equity goals should be part of the results you are measuring, in addition to traditional work targets. Intrinsic motivation is the most powerful driver of performance. The structures that are in place foster accountability while maintaining positive incentives to achieve.

The Ignite Pathway

The Ignite program is a pathway that includes a Launch, six or more Learning Labs, and a Closing taught online with the support of a learning platform, coaching, and access to templates and tools.

Launch:  the launch is held in two 2-hour sessions and covers the Role of an Ignite Manager; 3 Principles; Development Goal and Action Plan; and orientation to the platform resources.

Learning Labs: the Labs are 90-minutes to 2 hours and are selected from a list of twelve available sessions, including:

  1. Finding Your Power: to understand the power you have to influence people and get the results you get.
  2. Driving Priorities: to focus on what’s most important while managing the unexpected
  3. Delegation that works: to responsibly pass work to others and grow your capacity.
  4. Project Management: to manage people, time, and outcomes to achieve results.
  5. Giving & Receiving Feedback: to improve the quality and quantity of feedback.
  6. The Power of Coaching:  to listen deeply and ask powerful questions so that people grow.
  7. Leading from Strengths:  to elevate and build on your own strengths and those of your team
  8. Difficult Conversations: to honestly and effectively communicate difficult truths
  9. Building Powerful Teams: to lead a small group of people with a shared goal to do great things.
  10. Navigating Conflict: the ability to receive conflict and surface disagreement with confidence and ease.
  11. Motivation RAPS: the secret to unleashing the energy and commitment of your people.
  12. Fostering Accountability: the ability to foster transparency, commitment, and responsibility-taking

Closing: the closing is held in two 2-hour sessions and covers Systems Change, Developing New Habits, Culture of Learning, and Applying an Equity Lens to Leadership.


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