SPD pilot program grows skills in leadership

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A customised 10-month pilot program designed to foster the growth of South Pacific Division (SPD) leaders to fulfil the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s mission has been commended by participants.

Delivered by the SPD Leadership Academy, the program involved two groups of 12 leaders: the first comprising senior leaders across the SPD, and the second made up of emerging leaders or those with up to five years’ experience. Participants were strategically selected by their organisation, with representation from all SPD institutions and the four Union territories.

“In this rapidly changing world we need leaders who are godly and courageous with future-thinking mindsets, equipped with the skills to execute our strategies rapidly,” said SPD Leadership Strategy leader Dean Banks, who managed the program. 

“We need to move from a process-driven focus to an agile, performance-oriented focus. With the program’s success we now aim to duplicate it over the next four years, allowing 120 leaders to experience this model of leadership development.”

Program components included psychometric assessment, monthly executive coaching by coaching psychologists, an allocated mentor, customised workshops, reflective journalling and a five-week online course through the prestigious INSEAD Business school.

Avondale University vice-chancellor, Professor Kevin Petrie, commended the program, saying it had both challenged and grown him as a leader.

“It has brought me face-to-face with both my strengths and my weaknesses, but importantly provided the support to move forward and to grow,” Prof Petrie said. “Each component has provided something unique, from the coaching, the mentoring, to the valuable training sessions. It is not a passive program. It requires active engagement and in return provides genuine growth.”

Similar sentiments were shared by Pastor Luke Nathan, president of the Western Highlands Mission in Papua New Guinea. “This leadership program is a hands on paradigm shift to train leaders to lead organisations in these disruptive times,” Pastor Nathan said. It’s great to see what the SPD is doing for our leaders and I am really pleased to be part of the team learning.”

For South New Zealand Conference pastor and discipleship director Sarah Jane Riley the program not only helped grow her skills in leadership but her own awareness of her leadership. She found the regular coaching sessions particularly valuable. “It’s stretched me and kept me on track with leadership goals as well as application of new learnings,” she said.

“I honestly have enjoyed so many aspects and highly recommend the program for others. It is long overdue in our Church, and I am so thankful for the opportunities I have been given!”

This year’s program will start in early February and includes an additional day-long Harvard University leadership simulation activity to assess team dynamics.

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