FEI Handbook and Leadership for a Democratic Society Information

LDS Participant Comments

Executives who have attended the LDS program describe the impact of their experience in the LDS Program. 


Executives have also offered a number of suggestions or "tips" on how to derive the most benefit from that experience.  Here, in their own words, are suggestions you may want to consider:

Before the Program Begins

    • Read your pre-program material carefully.
    • Prepare well before coming. Thoroughly familiarize yourself with the (360 degree) assessment instrument and get a one-to-one interview with the sponsoring executive. Also, select the colleagues and direct reports carefully (for the instrument) so that you can get realistic feedback.
    • Make sure you get full cooperation in getting pre-program materials completed and submitted from your direct reports, peers, and especially your supervisor.
    • Be very prompt in getting (360 instrument) submitted. Otherwise, you may not have much input during the class sessions for your personal evaluation.
    • Contact previous attendees in your organization. Talk with someone who has been here.
    • Come prepared to learn and to enjoy yourself.
    • Identify leadership concerns within yourself and your organization that you need to address.
    • Come with your mind open and be willing to learn.
    • Plan to take advantage of the optional exercise classes. Bring work out clothes and proper footwear.
    • Think ahead about an leadership problem you would like to explore while here (before you attend).
    • Leave your work at home.

 Once in the LDS program:

    • It's a great opportunity to stretch your mind and body, so don't hesitate...Defer judgement and leap right into it!
    • Participate in all the activities...you'll never get a chance like this again!
    • Take advantage of the incredible network of federal executives in your LDS program by meeting and talk with as many people as you can.
    • Talk to other participants while you're in the LDS program and take advantage of their experiences and knowledge. Recognize that this is not just a point in time event but an opportunity to rethink where you're going and change direction and/or grow beyond where you are.
    • Make sure you make the most of your small group Leadership Development Team (LDT)...this can be one of the most useful and enriching aspects of the FEI experience.
    • Build relationships with your LDT members.
    • Share best practices from your leadership style and share them with others.
    • Suspend judgement - hold negative thoughts for a couple moments and/or balance with positive thoughts. Negative tone can feed on itself and ruin the experience for yourself and others.
    • In whatever choices you make - for courses, activities, forums - participate fully: do the readings, do the exercises, take part in the discussion. Fully engage in everything that is offered to you.
    • Make use of the supplementary books and videos available at FEI.
    • Take time to really think about the readings.
    • Think about improving your organization by applying what you learn.
    • Take advantage of the unique and comprehensive wellness program--it's fantastic!!
    • Determine what type of exercise program you will stick with after you go home (know yourself) don't push for something so far from it that you will immediately drop it.
    • Expect to change your lifestyle.

Comments about the Leadership Development Team:

“I was amazed at how well our team bonded and how quickly we have formed strong relationships. Now the key is to apply these skills back at the office and home.” 

“LDT time helped our team gel into the group that we are today. I expect that we as a group have yet to realize the true benefits of week one of FEI. The presentation materials, teaching approach and content met my needs and generated a high-performing learning environment that exceeded my expectations and personal experience.”

What about this class was most useful to you?

“The experiential learning opportunities. In particular, the team-building in week 1, including the dynamics of team forming, storming, norming and performing was outstanding real-world simulation of work team-building. Opportunity for reflection and working on me in a safe, facilitative environment. The relationships I formed during the experience.” 

Please provide examples on how this program reinforced your commitment to public service:

“Our role as leaders, models and motivators to serving the people and the Constitution. Reinforcement that the Constitution of the United States was designed to grow with our nation and that I, as a federal employee, have an integral role in defending and executing the contracts of the Constitution. I have a renewed sense of pride in my service to the United States Government. The interaction that I experienced with other US govt. executives and the strong program focus on Constitutional values and Leadership inspired me to a renewed commitment.” 

“There is no question in my mind that I am forever changed as a result of the 4 weeks I spent at FEI. To learn about the strengths and weaknesses of the men that wrote the constitution, to understand they were highly educated and motivated mortals that made mistakes was a new perspective for me. I was personally and professionally dedicated and motivated before I came to FEI. I left FEI even more dedicated and motivated, and armed with tools, techniques, and ideas about how to be the best I can be and I am EXCITED about this.” 

Comments about the impact of the wellness program: 

It seems hard to believe that it’s been a full year since we finished our class (LDS 437), but you will be pleased to know that our group has been able to stick together and keep up our path to fitness. I’ve lost over 50 pounds since since starting the LDS program last year and am feeling great—it has helped me in so many ways. I remain very grateful to you and the fitness team for working with me and my classmates to help encourage healthy habits and for your continued encouragement. Chris Perry, LDS 437