History of LeAD
After four years of teaching and doing research with organizational behavior and positive organizational psychology students at Claremont Graduate University, I began to develop the idea and see the need for LeAD Labs. As an applied Psychology program, we sought to conduct meaningful applied research on leaders in organizations. Access for such research was often challenging to gain. At the same time, I kept hearing from my bright and motivated students that they had difficulty finding meaningful work experience. The culmination of these factors – the desire to conduct applied research and for my students to gain applied work experience – drove me to draft the initial strategic plan for LeAD Labs with the input of some of my key students on market conditions and client needs.
The goal of this new organization is to develop leaders in our community and to develop ourselves as practitioners while both using and creating evidence-based leadership assessment and development strategies.
In January of 2013, the Founding members of LeAD Labs met in my home for the first of many strategic planning sessions where we jointly crafted the LeAD Labs mission, vision, values and beliefs about leadership and leader development. Without pay or any incentive beyond building LeAD Labs, the Founding members collected hours and hours of needs assessment data from benchmarking studies of market competitors to client interviews and surveys and an analysis of the research-practice gap. The basis of our findings allowed us to develop a strategic plan, which went through several additional iterations using the balanced scorecard approach and ultimately resulted in our Strategy Map.
LeAD Labs Founding members and their reflections on founding LeAD Labs:
“We are fortunate to be founding members of an organization that focuses on positive human strengths and psychological capacities in the workplace in order to enhance institutions and society.”
“As a founding member of LeAD Labs, I have had the opportunity to stoke my entrepreneurial spirit by crafting innovative solutions to longstanding problems in the understanding and practice of leadership development.”
“As a member of the Strategic Planning Committee, is has truly been an invaluable experience to have a hand in setting the strategic direction of this burgeoning, start-up organization.”
“I have seen first-hand how certain groups find it nearly impossible to gain access to resources to help them grow their leadership and improve their organizations. It was incredibly powerful to know that we were creating something that could do this for people, and it’s wonderful to see LeAD Labs continuing to grow.”
“LeAD Labs was founded by a passionate group of individuals who wanted to build a place where both applied evidence-based leadership practices and leadership research could be at the forefront. Central to our vision was to create an organization where members could develop skills as researchers and practitioners while delivering an exceptional product to our clients.”
“I think that LeAD Labs members recognize that everybody has the capability to become a great leader. We want to use our expertise in social science research and evaluation to help others develop their leadership abilities – which we believe will enable people to have a positive impact in their organizations.”
“The single most rewarding endeavor of my academic experience has been working with such a brilliant and talented team to build an organization that engages the development of both students and leaders.”
“I am proud to be a part of an organization that provides resources for those who value professional growth and continuous development as leaders.”
“The opportunity to see LeAD Labs employees grow into masters of maximizing the knowledge available from existing evidence with the practicality of delivering professional services all while seeking to answer important research questions is highly rewarding.”
“Today’s complex, global problems demand a lot from leaders. I think LeAD Labs’s innovative researcher-practitioner structure is well positioned to yield crucial new insights into effective leader development practices, as well helping bridge the research-practitioner gap, a critical step in the field’s development.”