Developing Leadership Teams: JA of Chicago
To fill the need for classroom volunteers to deliver the program JA More than Money, the staff at Junior Achievement of Chicago implemented an HSBC “leadership team.” This is a team of dedicated employee-volunteers, company representatives, and JA staff, who help determine program outreach goals and organize and allocate responsibilities. In this instance, the goal was to reach
90 classrooms in Chicago. Leadership teams provide strong support for JA programs simply because a team effort increases resources, reach, and enthusiasm to promote and fill requested classes.
Strategy: Building leadership teams is very strategic to JA of Chicago’s overall goals. The Chicago office has been using leadership teams at other organizations for several years and has found that the most involved firms have this model in place to help allocate volunteers and resources. The focus of the JA More than Moneyleadership teams was to motivate those individuals most enthusiastic about JA in the organization to drive participation and outreach within HSBC.
Measurability: The leadership team at HSBC was given certain goals per geographic area. HSBC headquarters had the goal to reach 35 classrooms, its field office’s goal was 45 classrooms, and the surrounding areas’ goal was
10 classrooms. With this approach, the Chicago office could assess where the sources of volunteers were coming from. Also, it was easy to measure progress by maintaining an Excel chart of requests per area and filled classes per area.
Sustainability: Junior Achievement of Chicago has utilized the leadership team concept successfully for more than 10 years. The teams draw passionate people who commit to stay involved for the long haul. Team representatives often teach the program or serve on the local board, so they are aware of what the program can do for students, schools and their own business.
Replicability: JA of Chicago has leadership teams in place at companies like Kraft, Hewitt, AT&T, Abbott Labs, Baxter Healthcare, UPS, GE, and Motorola, as well as at HSBC. The results are impressive; JA of Chicago’s six top corporate volunteer supporters come from firms that utilize the leadership team setup. In 2008, more than 1,600 classes were reached through these firms, with HSBC being the top supporter, reaching 357.
For all JA Member Offices, developing leadership teams at sponsoring businesses could provide ongoing benefits. These teams promote continuing success because dedicated volunteers lead the groups, are recognized by upper management, and encourage increased levels of company involvement. The teams have a sense of ownership of the programs they are advocating — and, with ownership, comes accountability. Having more then just JA staff accountable for program and sponsor success boosts the JA Member Office’s ability to reach projected annual goals.
For more information about leadership teams, download JA of Chicago’s leadership team brief.
Contact: Peter Truschke, firstname.lastname@example.org