By Debra Clark
Are you looking for new leadership skills and mentorship from senior leaders? If so, Reaching New Heights is the program for you.
“Reaching New Heights is a program that focuses on building career management and personal leadership skills, and encourages participants to become responsible for creating and fulfilling self-development goals,” said Mariette Mealor, Leadership and Professional Development, Training.
Reaching New Heights is a 12-month program that started in 1999, providing the White Sands Missile Range workforce an opportunity to reach their full potential, limited only by their ability, aspiration and initiative. Such opportunity includes potential for movement into teams designed to fill key leadership positions.
RNH is made up of a diverse group where participants learn the basic concepts of leadership, teamwork, team building and public speaking. Mealor said participants need to be willing to make the time commitment needed to attend the monthly meetings, read books, which is mostly done at home, attend the in-person trainings such as Dale Carnegie and complete required on-line training. Mealor’s advice is to think about the time commitment and your schedule. If you know you are traveling a lot or feel that you cannot make the time because of mission requirements and are likely to miss many meetings and training sessions, it is not the right time to participate.
The next RNH application window will open in September of 2016 for a start of the program in October of 2016. The requirements for application are: GS-12 or below, or equivalent pay band; submit an application packet that includes:
- Career goals
- Statement of Interest
- Signed contract page by applicant and supervisor
- Time commitment form
- Completion of on-line portion of CES course required for grade level
These forms can be found on the Leadership Development Board during the RNH application window at the following website: https://wsdmnew.wsmr.army.mil/ldbp/SitePages/Training.aspx, or by contacting Mealor at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by telephone at (575) 678-7510.
Mealor advises taking your time filling out the career goals and Statement of Interest. An executive committee evaluates the applications and selects applicants based on the ability to communicate effectively and the level of effort in the development of required documents in the application packet. The strategic leadership development initiative is “To grow and sustain a resilient workforce with the right intellect, professional and leader competence, and high-moral character to meet all missions and requirements.”
RNH participants also take part in a 12-week Dale Carnegie program. The RNH group meets for Dale Carnegie once a week and is focused on effective communications and human relations. Some of the Dale Carnegie course objectives include building greater self-confidence, strengthening people skills, enhancing communication skills, developing leadership skills and reducing stress and improving attitudes.
Founded in 1912, Dale Carnegie focuses on giving people an opportunity to sharpen their skills and improve their performance in order to build positive, steady and profitable results.
Charlie Black, Dale Carnegie area director for New Mexico and El Paso, Texas, for 25 years, who is currently facilitating the training for the 20 RNH participants, has been involved in both personal and professional development, bringing out the best in people. Black says Dale Carnegie is a space learned type program that focuses instruction over a period of consecutive days to not only teach skills, but allow participants to practice those skills. That is why this course is offered over a 12-week period. He says to develop a skill you have to practice the skill. Dale Carnegie programs offer coaching that provides significant performance shifts in teams and individuals emphasizing practical principles and processes by designing programs that offer people the knowledge, skills and practices they need to add value to organizations and advance in their careers. Connecting proven solutions with real-world challenges. Dale Carnegie is recognized internationally as the leader in bringing out the best in people and is accredited by the U.S. Department of Education, and facilitators must go through a very rigorous and intensive training program to become certified. All trainer/coaches are business professionals who have real-world business experience. Trainers undergo a minimum of 150 hours of in house development before they are certified as a Dale Carnegie trainer and must go through a refresher every year to become more effective implementing new trends that focus on employee engagement. Trainers need to be able to deliver in such a way that the audience can relate to the material.
“The RNH and Dale Carnegie program are both remarkable,” said participant of both programs, Damaris Sullivan-Powe. “I am amazed at how much the programs have impacted me as a professional on several different levels. As a leader, my self-confidence has increased immensely. I am discovering new ideals for dealing with difficult people and situations. I am learning how to put stress in perspective. The Dale Carnegie program expounds on the 21 principles that I find beneficial to your personal and professional life.”
Sullivan-Powe says that the program can be challenging when it comes to time management, but she has a great mentor who has provided several tools and techniques to help with prioritizing workload. She averages around five to 10 hours a week preparing for both RNH and Dale Carnegie. Sullivan-Powe says she is grateful for the opportunity to participate in both programs and as she continues this journey for the next couple of months she is looking forward to breaking barriers and new challenges.