Course: The Looking Glass Experience
When: Twice a month; November 8-12 (Greensboro); November 15-19 (San Diego)
Class size: 21
Where: Center for Creative Leadership, Greensboro, North Carolina, and San Diego, California
Step into a flight simulator, and you may get a bit queasy from the push back of the g-forces. Step into the Looking Glass Experience, and you may end up a little nauseated — at your own behavior. The Looking Glass Experience helps participants better understand their own leadership style and how to improve it. Before the course begins, students get their supervisor, their peers, and the people they manage to critique them and forward their evaluations to the course instructors. At the course, participants first go through a one-day fictitious business exercise, followed by three days of feedback in which they receive the evaluations and Looking Glass students and faculty offer insights. "Feedback helps students understand the impact of their behavior," says Joan Gurvis, CCL's group manager of open enrollment.
Nancy Brogan Antle, a national brand manager at Brown-Forman Corp., makers of Jack Daniel's, Southern Comfort, and Korbel, took the course because she wanted a business simulation that would reveal leadership weaknesses she could improve. Antle thinks the most useful part of the course was the input she received from her classmates. They told her about mannerisms, such as sitting on the edge of her chair, that she never knew caused others to feel uncomfortable. "Since I would never see them again, they were nonconfrontational, but quite frank. Your coworkers won't tell you things like that. It's a really great way to get feedback you don't get in daily life."
Want to go?
Register at: www.ccl.org
Can't go? Check out some of the suggested reading for the course, such as Preventing Derailment (Center for Creative Leadership, 1991), by Michael M. Lombardo and Robert W. Eichinger, and The Deep Blue Sea: Rethinking the Source of Leadership (Jossey-Bass, 2001), by Wilfred Drath.
A version of this article appeared in the October 2004 issue of Fast Company magazine.