Case Study - Leadership Academy

The Director of Nuclear Training at San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) in Southern California was charged with creating a leadership development program that would impact the effectiveness of over 350 leaders. The ultimate goal was to positively impact the organization’s culture allowing for increased trust, transparency and collaboration throughout the site.

The Director, who had worked with Crux Move on a similar four-year project at another organization in Michigan, and again on a project involving sites in other midwest locations, contacted us about playing a key role in their newly developing Leadership Academy.

The intent of the Leadership Academy was to provide a significant developmental opportunity for employees who serve in leadership positions. In the final design approximately twenty participants would go through a multi-week session together. Crux Move Consulting provided a powerful multi-day Experiential Training Session to “kick-off” each larger training experience. The experiential session and the following additional training components focused on leadership capacities and abilities identified by the senior leaders that would be necessary in order for the site be successful. Other training components in the Leadership Academy focused on additional leadership skills including facilitative leadership, conflict management and program management.

Support for the Academy by senior leadership was demonstrated by a commitment to have a member of the Senior Leadership Team participate in all facets of every session as a “mentor”. The mentor served as a conduit connecting the senior leadership to the many leadership levels throughout the site and was seen as a great asset to the Leadership Academy by the training participants.

Excerpts from Crux Move’s participant work book highlight program objectives, our philosophy of leadership as a relationship and training methodology.

General Goal of Experiential Training: The general goal of the Crux Move experiential training is to provide opportunities for participants to connect leadership lessons learned in the training sessions to their current role as leaders. In addition, because most leaders not only lead teams but are also team members, both leadership and team development concepts will be woven throughout the training process.

The Training Group as a Learning Laboratory: Leadership is a relationship. An employee cannot contribute their full potential without trust in their leader, and a relationship where they can openly discuss their own developmental needs and current challenges. Learning the real impact of trust on performance and what it takes to be the kind of leader that can develop trusting relationships with their people is one of the key objectives of the experiential training. Participants are able to explore this process by using the group as a powerful “learning laboratory.” Over the course of the experiential session and then continued over the entire Leadership Academy, participants will have opportunities to develop trusting relationships with each other that will help them learn to do the same with those that they lead. Not only will this enhanced network of relationships help each participant in their development as leaders back at work but it will allow this group of leaders to be more open to learning, exploring and sharing together throughout the rest of their training experience.

The Value of Trust in Leadership: Participants will leave the experiential session with an enhanced understanding of their role in creating an environment that allows their team to most effectively achieve its goals. While the ultimate goal is getting results, we start with an understanding of the role that trust plays in that process. Trust allows for open and honest communication where constructive feedback occurs naturally. In a trusting environment healthy conflict, commitment and accountability can flourish ensuring success in achieving results. The intent of the training is to enhance each participant’s understanding of how to create that kind of effective environment.

Training Methodology: The training session will be a mix of classroom training, exploration of several models of effective leadership and teaming, continued exploration of Insights Discovery Preference Evaluator (Insights), facilitated discussion and experiential activities. Utilizing both indoor and outdoor experiential activities will enhance this exploration and allow participants to fully engage in and personalize their training experience. Together they will explore the complex dynamics that impact the effectiveness of leaders and teams.

Crux Move worked with SONGS to locate and secure a resort partner where we built an outdoor experiential site custom designed for the Leadership Academy.

Objectives of Experiential Training Session:

  • Enhanced relationships with fellow training group participants allowing for maximum engagement and value in the entire training process
  • A solid understanding of the role that trust plays in achieving results and what it takes to create a trusting environment
  • Enhanced understanding and appreciation of self and other’s work style profile - Leaders will identify their individual leadership strengths as well as style issues and behaviors that can become roadblocks to successfully developing necessary relationships and leading their teams.
  • A learned process of using style information to build relationships with their respective teams and within the organization
  • Increased effectiveness in personal and interpersonal communications and conflict resolution in their leadership roles and as team members
  • Increased awareness of the need for accountability and ongoing development of the individual leader, key relationships and the team
  • To help each participant develop their own individual plan to ensure their ongoing development as a leader
  • Shared experience to be used as a reference point for future development

The Results: Seventeen sessions were completed in the first three years with nearly 300 graduates. The Leadership Academy is seen as a success by senior leadership who continue to support the investment in their current leaders with plans for ongoing Leadership Academies as new leaders join the company or are promoted from within.

Crux Move’s portion of the entire Leadership Academy, which was adjusted and improved based on participant feedback over successive years, provided a strong central core consistently receiving high marks from the participants and the mentors alike. Here's what one of our mentors said:

“I wanted to give you some feedback on the incredible difference I have seen in the way the Academy graduates carry themselves at the station.  The graduates have a common language and I have personally observed a different level of teamwork on those teams where time is taken to reflect on the Academy experience.  The work you did to emphasize the importance of relationships is really paying off.  Thank you.”

Our Clients Say

What started as 18 individuals embedded in different areas of the company, with at times an "us vs. them" approach, turned in to one team working together to achieve common goals.

Linda Milanowski
Director CMF Design & Implementation
Zeeland, Michigan


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