The Federal Home Loan Bank of Indianapolis was in the early stages of creating a succession-planning process when Vince Cera, a senior vice president, attended Leadership at the Peak. “Our bank wanted to do succession planning the right way, developing pools of high-potential people rather than just coming up with an organizational chart with a bunch of names,” said Cera. “So we started looking around for a leadership program we could use for our senior executives.”

Cera undertook a diligent survey of the field, and “every time I did research, I kept coming up with Leadership at the Peak,” he said. “I liked the emphasis on feedback and coaching, and its references were all excellent. Then I ran into some business friends who had gone through the program, and they said the same thing.” He presented his findings to the bank’s president, who responded, “This sounds good. Why don’t you go and see what it’s like?”

What Cera experienced at the Center for Creative Leadership’s (CCL) Colorado Springs campus was an exhilarating five days of self-discovery and self-development in the company of an extraordinary gathering of peers. “For me, a great part of the experience was my fellow students,” he said. “There were 15 in our class, and they were from all sorts of different businesses. Four were internationals. I learned a lot just listening to everybody talk about themselves and their challenges.”

Cera had been attracted to the program because of the personalized attention, and there is a lot of it. Each person receives in-depth personalized feedback from colleagues in the class and 360-degree feedback from direct reports back home. “I got some good positive feedback that made me feel good about my leadership abilities but also pointed out some things I could stand to work on, such as trusting my intuition more than I do and being a better listener. If you’re honest with yourself, the program gives you a template to improve yourself.”

Since Cera completed Leadership at the Peak, five more of his bank’s top executives have also gone through the program, including the comptroller, chief executive officer, and senior officer in charge of marketing. “All of them said it was outstanding,” he said. Two other senior leaders are scheduled to attend.

The CCL program also has served as an inspiration for a developmental program Federal Home Loan Bank established for junior and middle-level managers as part of its succession planning. “It is not quite as comprehensive or intense as Leadership at the Peak, but in many regards models it,” said Cera. “Using these two different programs, we now have an essential process in place for preparing for the future of the company.”

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