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News | Nov. 7, 2016

Santa Ana kicks off T2LDP

By DCMA Santa Ana

SANTA ANA, Calif., Nov. 7, 2016 — Defense Contract Management Agency Santa Ana kicked off their fourth Tier II Leadership Development Program, known as T2LDP, last month.

“As someone who has seen several versions of this leadership program, I have to say that this is a great start to by far the best T2LDP in our contract management office,” said Carlene Ousley, DCMA Santa Ana director. “The program is open to contract management office professionals and mission partners GS-9 and above, non- supervisory, civilian and military, and has all the required ingredients to directly fulfill agency Strategic Plan Goal 3, Human Capital.”

Ousley fully believes in the premise that everyone is a leader, and she is an advocate and champion for T2LDP. The program is also supported by the office’s deputy director, who serves as the chair and provides program oversight; an accomplished program manager who administers the local program; eight experienced senior level board advisors; and mentors to support the leadership development journey.

“Most importantly,” said Ousley, “are the 16 energized participants who stepped up to the challenge, demonstrating great desire to push not only themselves forward, but also agency mission and vision.”

The main goal of the program is for participants to develop and nurture their leadership skills, which in turn contributes to their professional development. Ashish Patel, systems engineer and T2LDP program participant, is excited to start the journey and believes the program “will greatly help our agency identify future leaders within the organization.”

To accomplish this, DCMA Santa Ana developed the two-year program with four phases: leading self, leading others, leading performance and change, and leading DCMA. Requirements vary from leadership experiences to academic assignments and minor and major projects.

“While reading leadership books is helpful, the best way to enhance one’s leadership skills is to grow their skills in real-world leadership scenarios,” said Ericka Jordan, DCMA San Diego Major Program Support supervisor and T2LDP program manager. This gives participants practical projects that will enable them to hone their leadership skills in areas like developing a vision, goal-setting, conflict management or teambuilding — a critical part of the program.

Through participation in leading multifunctional projects, reading assignments, and feedback sessions, participants will learn basic leadership principles. Other learning experiences include self-studies, facilitated group discussions, group projects, and reflective essays. The desire is for participants to gain a good understanding of the role of a CMO leader within DCMA by the end of the first year.

“As we like to look at the end point, we have much appreciation for the value of meeting goals in increments and each phase will allow us to evaluate their progress and tailor their goals accordingly,” said Jordan.

A key element of the Santa Ana program is the board advisors and the role they play in the development process. According to Jordan, the experience and background of the advisors will help ensure program success as they share the goal of seeing these participants become the future leaders of this agency.

“We have advisors who have worked at program offices, served in the military, commanded CMOs, deployed to the Middle East, published articles in professional journals, worked for defense contractors as general managers, and served in Vietnam,” said Jordan. “Their educational backgrounds range from bachelors to doctoral degrees and even alumni from previous T2LDPs. Together, they represent a pool of knowledge that participants can tap into during their journey that will help them build confidence and conviction to conceive and meet their goals with the discipline to practice and stay ahead.”

A secondary, but equally important goal of the program is for participants to graduate with the understanding that the journey is just as important as the process.

“We strive to ensure that all participants successfully complete this program and we understand the challenge their workloads present as well as their work life balance,” said Jordan. “However, we must urge participants to step outside their comfort zone so we will strongly encourage them to seize every opportunity — persuading them to tackle any doubts and misgivings they might have about taking on increased leadership roles.”

“This program takes dedicated commitment by all stakeholders, in particular CMO leadership,” continued Jordan. “The CMO will ensure participants’ plans are actionable and not placed on the back burner, which can easily happen as workloads start to pile up. This program holds great promise in developing future leaders.”