600 Maryland Avenue, S.W.,
Washington, DC 20024-2520



GSUSA Success Stories: FEMA Leadership Framework

Home / GSUSA Success Stories: FEMA Leadership Framework

FEMA Leadership Framework and Graduate School USA’s Approach to Mission-Critical Leadership Development

The Challenge:
To develop a transformational leadership framework and plan for FEMA’s senior leaders remaining in-house and for those transitioning out of the agency. Our goal was to design a comprehensive leadership development and training solution to support the agency’s leadership framework. This solution needed to map to OPM requirements for federal government leaders while also developing competencies critical to FEMA’s unique mission.

Graduate School USA Solution:
Over a six-month period, Graduate School USA staff consulted with FEMA’s Senior Educational Policy Advisor to develop a transformational leadership framework and plan. The team first identified key functional areas and linked competencies needed in each area, at each level. It was determined that to foster awareness and discussion of leadership approaches to mission-critical functions, leadership development activities required cohorts of leaders at multiple levels.

At the organizational level, strategic leaders would acquire the vision, direction, and strategies to meet internal and external challenges. These leaders would also need to develop coaching capabilities and the ability to both work within and develop executive teams. At the middle management level, leaders would need to use unique and effective approaches to lead through both formal and informal channels.

The resulting program took a unique approach by including multiple levels of leaders in many of the same activities. This meant that multiple perspectives reflecting mission-critical functions could be brought to problem-solving activities, and all agency leaders could be expected to possess many of the same essential competencies. Beyond these essentials, other activities developed competencies for external and internal practice.

The final program included:

A modular approach to learning solutions
This allowed for the blending of topics and modules for unique audiences within FEMA. By blending development approaches—speakers, workshops, coaching, and course series, as well as a customized team leader certificate program—the program ensured participants remained engaged in their leadership development activities while applying their learning to their current positions and seeking a path for development.

Customized focus activities
Webinars brought together leaders at multiple levels to discuss leadership challenges and to brainstorm effective leadership approaches in multiple functional areas. Coaching and mentoring with high-level leaders engaged participants and assisted them with goal identification and planning.