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Corporate Spotlight: Boeing's Leadership Center

The Center acts as the starting point for Boeing's foundational leadership programs, which touch on core skills and values the company sees as most important to its success.

February 1, 2012
Related Topics: Leadership Development, Leadership Development
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Tucked away just north of St. Louis is the Boeing Co. Leadership Center, a 285-acre leadership development campus where employees can immerse themselves in the company’s leadership education programs.

“This is an epicenter, if you will, of leadership,” said Norm Bartlett, vice president of leadership and talent management at Chicago-based Boeing, which built the complex after its 1997 merger with McDonnell Douglas, an aerospace manufacturer and defense contractor. “It’s symbolic of a huge investment that we’ve made in leadership at Boeing.”

Fitted with 204 classrooms and meeting areas, Boeing’s Leadership Center acts as the starting point for its foundational leadership programs, Bartlett said. From first-level leaders to the most senior executives, the company’s programs are designed to instill a stern and collaborative focus in its employee base, touching on the core skills and values Bartlett said Boeing sees as most important to its success.

While the classroom environment is important, most learning takes place at the facilities where people work, which makes the classroom-job connection critically important. Roughly 90 percent of the center’s instructors were from outside the company when it first opened. Today, Bartlett said, that number has flipped — about 95 percent of the courses are taught by Boeing executives.

“Every vice president of Boeing has a requirement to come out here to the leadership center at least twice a year to teach,” Bartlett said. “And, with very few exceptions, that’s not only accomplished, it’s exceeded — many are here more than twice.”

Frank Kalman is an associate editor at Talent Management magazine. He can be reached at fkalman@talentmgt.com.

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