Each year the Roaring Fork Leadership Class is divided into project teams (with 6-8 participants in each) that take on a civic project. The purpose of these teams is to provide participants the opportunity to practice the skills learned in the program while making an impact in the community. The skills include – the process of collaboration, consensus building, team decision making, leading change, facilitation and mediation, and conflict resolution. Through the practice of these essential leadership skills participants discover the value of creativity, empathy, openness, discipline, and closure – and most importantly the power to make a difference for themselves and the community.
The Project Selection and Planning Flow consists of the following steps:
- September – Project teams are established as part of the interactive learning environment of the retreat session. Between September and November’s sessions, each team should meet to establish their ‘Team Infrastructure.’ See attachment for details.
- November – The class is trained in critical thinking techniques to promote effective collaboration for project success. During the month, Project teams have identified their project idea. These can come from the group as well as “off the shelf” projects available from RFL alumni or the community.
- December – Teams come to this with the Community Project identified. The projects are reviewed and validated for “fit” with the RFL principles to develop project scope, charters, stakeholder analysis, and establishing milestones.
- January-May – Project Implementation
- June – Another Successful five RFL Class Projects!
Determing a civic project within a team, can be the most challenging aspect of the civic projects. Trying to balance the multiple needs of the community, the passions of the individual team members, and the timline of the project all factor into this decision. Below are some helpful tools that can be applied to your team decision making process.
The first tool is a set of criteria that the project should address. The second tool is a list of questions that can be applied to a list of project ideas to help objectively rate the project ideas. The attachment is a powerpoint file that provides examples of how to best utilize these tools.
As the RFL Civic Project serves as a “capstone” learning experience for our class members, we are especially interested in project proposals which will provide a learning laboratory for our leaders. To that end, good projects are ones where the team’s ability to lead individually and collectively is tested in areas such as strategic thinking, stakeholder engagement, change management, and project planning. See the examples below for the kinds of RFL team roles that would provide such a “capstone” learning experience:
Potential Project topics “fit” for an RFL group/class when:
- resolving the issue will have measurable, visible positive impact on the community.
- the topic and associated activities are consistent with RFL’s principles and mission.
- the scope is both narrow and specific and can be thoroughly explored and addressed within the RFL class structure.
- there is ample opportunity for all group members to be appropriately involved.
- the issue has a significant “Acceptance” component (meaning that winning support for the idea is as important as developing the idea).
- the “data” needed to come up with a high-quality solution or action plan is already available, easily collected, and/or resides in the minds of participants and/or community members.
- there is energy and a sense of urgency to resolve the issue now.
The Project Selection Matrix provides Key Questions for dialogue.
- Informed, committed, skilled, and open-minded Sponsor who will legitimize and sanction the effort
- Group members are motivated to work on this issue
- Improvement will have direct, positive change impact on the community
- Data on the issue
- Access to the right people at the right time: at the start and during the project cycle
- Scope on the issues
- Potential solutions
- Potential time to implement
While these projects vary in time, effort and scope, all share a set of common attributes relative to leadership development. These include the opportunity to:
- Provide a laboratory for participants to practice leadership skills and apply new concepts.
- Develop a sense of personal efficacy – “I can change things” and collective efficacy “Together, we can make a difference”.
- Make an impact in the community – we refer to this as our ‘Community Return On Investment” (C-ROI).
- Gain personal insights on the impact leaders have on a team, and what it takes to achieve one’s personal goals of leadership transformation.
If you have an idea for a civic project (a change initiative, community challenge or opportunity) please complete this form by providing answers to the questions below and submit by 5:00 pm on Friday, September 29, 2017. These questions are directly linked to the ‘screening criteria’ we use to ‘rate’ potential project ideas. We use a 5 point rating system: 1= meets criteria at the lowest level and 5= meets criteria at the highest level. We are looking for a minimum score of 30. If your initial submission does not attain this minimum score, we will discuss/offer options that could help enhance the project’s viability. Our goal is to offer our class teams a variety of options to choose from, so the more project ideas the better!
Submit your form digitally here.
If you’d like to download the form and submit via email – click below to download the form and email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
See the examples below for the kinds of RFL team roles that would provide such a “capstone” learning experience:
|Project||Weak RFL Team Role||Strong RFL Team Role|
|Rocky Mountain Nature Trail||Help build a nature trail for autistic kids.||Help develop a strategic plan for broadening our programming reach to include autistic children. Provide guidance on how to do strategic planning and lead sessions with staff, board and key stakeholders to draft the plan. If possible, help us develop a funding plan that will broaden our current base of supporters.|
|Reduce Our Carbon Footprint!||Help us to work with our public schools to become more aware of ways to reduce our overall carbon footprint.||Help us develop/refine our approach to working with local public schools to better engage teachers and administrators around ideas our group has to reduce carbon emissions. Provide coaching on change management, conflict resolution, and project planning as needed.|
|It’s Time To Volunteer!||Help us identify and recruit volunteers for our summer camping program.||Help us develop a new volunteer identification and recruiting process for our summer camping program to double the number of people in our candidate pool. Provide guidance on how to best screen potential volunteers and then incent them to stick with the program for the full summer season.|
|Opioids Are Killing Us||Help us develop an opioid abuse awareness campaign for communities up and down the Roaring Fork valley.||Help us understand best practices in the area of public awareness campaigns and then help us apply these best practices to our current efforts in the opioid awareness area. Provide guidance on how to identify what is a “best practice” and then facilitate staff/board working sessions to decide how and where to apply these best practices to our work.|