CalPERS (California Public Employees Retirement System) is the largest public pension system in North America and the third largest in the world, managing more than $140 billion in assets. Headquartered in Sacramento, California, CalPERS provides retirement and health benefits to more than one million members, representing more than 2,400 state employers.
Extensive interviews identified key leadership challenges facing CalPERS in its immediate future. CalPERS was rapidly moving from a monopoly to a competitive environment. Members were increasingly demanding, expecting new products and services, such as defined contributions. Internally, the transition to new information technologies was overloading staff, as they had to "change the tires while driving 70 miles an hour". In summary, the world of CalPERS was changing.
In response to these challenges, Action Learning Associates helped to create and launch high impact, four-day, Leadership Development Workshops for all management-from the executive ranks to the supervisory staff. Workshop objectives included: building understanding of the marketplace realities and trends (customers, competition, technology, and legislation); building understanding of the CalPERS vision, values, and strategies; improving cross-functional teamwork and the ability to lead teams; receiving feedback on a customized, multi-rater leadership effectiveness inventory; and finally, creating individual development plans for improving personal effectiveness.
Each of the 175 participants received on going one-on-one coaching and follow-up for a year after the program. In follow-up surveys, 96% of the participants were perceived as more effective leaders by their peers and direct reports.