Intel Corporation’s Fab 12 Organization Development Team (ODT)

The Leadership Development Forum (LDF) was first delivered in 1998 and received an overwhelmingly positive response from participants. Every LDF since the pilot has generated a “wait list” of employees interested in improving their leadership skills. Participants of the fourth LDF program made an impassioned plea to Fab 12’s senior staff requesting that the staff attend LDF and model the way for the factory. As a result, the entire twenty-two-member senior staff attended LDF in 2000. Since its inception, eleven LDF programs have been delivered at Fab 12 to a total of 204 middle (group leaders) and senior (department manager) level factory managers.

Although the first LDF was delivered to Fab 12 leaders only, subsequent programs have included participants from other Intel business groups in an effort to proliferate LDF throughout the company. In 2002, LDF was first piloted outside of Fab 12 to Intel’s Supplier Group and Corporate Quality Group. The participants’ feedback about the program resulted in an expanded pilot to proliferate LDF on a large scale. LDF is now being offered to other Intel business groups across the United States and in Asia.

In 2000, the LDF program was highlighted at the corporate Intel Manufacturing Excellence Conference (IMEC). IMEC, an annual event attended by a worldwide audience of five hundred selected Intel employees, shares papers, presentations, and exhibits to proliferate “best known methods” across the company. A rigorous selection process ensues to select the exhibits and presentations (only eighty of 1,100 are selected). The focus of IMEC is primarily technical; however, due to LDF’s unique design and success it was selected for 214 BEST PRACTICES IN LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT AND ORGANIZATION CHANGE the conference. The LDF program philosophy, key components, and results were shared in a presentation following the conference’s keynote speaker, Intel’s vice president of manufacturing. IMEC established LDF as the premier leadership development program throughout Intel.

The lessons learned are important for anyone in any organization coping with the daunting challenge of how to develop their management’s leadership abilities.


Throughout 1997, Fab 12’s senior staff engaged in a series of work sessions and off-site meetings to clarify operational priorities and plan for the long-term success of the factory. Within the staff, this process became known as the Journey. As the Journey progressed, leadership emerged as a key concern. The majority of Fab 12’s middle level managers at that time had been employed by Intel for less than three years and had very little experience leading people. How would Fab 12 provide the necessary leadership to meet aggressive technology ramps and high-volume manufacturing demands? A corporate process to develop Fab 12’s leadership potential did not exist. The only courses in existence at the time were (1) a Survey of Management Practices ©, a 360 assessment customized for Intel by the Booth Company,2 and (2) Intel’s corporate off-site, fortyhour management training program, Managing Through People, offered to middle and front line managers. Both of these courses focused solely on management practices, not leadership practices.

In March 1998, Fab 12’s plant manager challenged the ODT to design and deliver a factory-specific leadership development program by Q3, 1998. One month later, the ODT proposed delivering the Leadership Development Forum twice a year to middle and senior level managers on a voluntary basis. LDF, a five-month program, would utilize and expand on leadership content and activities experienced in the Journey.


The overall purpose of LDF is to provide a learning process, not a training program, whereby participants’ assumptions about leadership are challenged and their ability to affect change and meet factory performance goals is significantly improved.

LDF focuses exclusively on leadership. It makes the distinction, as noted by John Kotter, professor of management at the Harvard Business School, that leadership is about setting direction, aligning constituents, and inspiring others versus the fundamental management skills of planning, budgeting, staffing, and problem solving.

According to Warren Bennis, renowned author and professor of business at the University of Southern California, “One of the problems with standard leadership courses is that they focus exclusively on skills and produce managers rather than leaders, if they produce anything at all. Leadership is the ability to meet each situation armed not with a battery of techniques but with openness that permits a genuine response.”3

LDF was formulated on the premise that leadership is just as much about who we are as it is about what we do. By incorporating fundamental principles of leadership experts John Kotter, Warren Bennis, Terry Pearce, Boyd Clarke, Ron Crossland, Tom Peters, Ben Zander, Joel Barker, James Kouzes, and Barry Posner into the program’s design, LDF serves as an “inquiry” into leadership versus a prescription on how to lead others. The premise of LDF is that leadership is a “generative process” best described in a Harvard Business Review article by Tracy Gross:”During our thirty-five years of research and consulting for U.S. and multi-national corporations, we have found in senior executives, an unwillingness to think rigorously about themselves or their thinking. It is not surprising that so many executives decline the invitation to reinvent themselves. There is another choice, but it requires a serious inquiry into oneself as a leader. This is not a psychological process of fixing something that is wrong, but an inquiry that reveals the context from which we make decisions.”4

LDF participants focus on what they are doing (applying leadership practices, leading breakthrough projects) and how they are being (shifting paradigms, focusing on relationships, stepping out of comfort zones). Participants are asked to let go of looking good and being right, and instead operate from an orientation of leaders are learners who are vulnerable and take a stand for what is possible. The ultimate purpose of LDF is for participants to improve themselves, their circumstances, and the lives of those around them.


The ODT established four primary program objectives and a firm set of expectations:

  1. Participants’ assumptions about leadership are challenged by defining leadership as who you are and what you do, identifying leaders as learners versus someone who knows, and demonstrating that leadership results from authenticity and self-expression.
  2. Participants deeply reflect on and complete a one-page leadership autobiography describing their purpose at work, their personal values, their vision for their organization, and the legacy they wish to leave behind.
  3. Participants develop and implement a leadership action plan, enabling them to apply the five practices of Kouzes and Posner’s Leadership Model on a current breakthrough project and their day-to-day work.5
  4. Participants build a strong cross-functional network among themselves. Participants are held accountable to uphold the following set of expectations to ensure their total participation in LDF:
    • Attend 100 percent of all sessions. (Participants must attend each session for the entire session, and are expected to be on time at the beginning of each session and after breaks.)
    • Complete all homework assignments. (Read articles, watch videos, complete assignments.)
    • Provide specific feedback to other participants and program facilitators.
    • Be willing to take risks. (Try new things, don’t be afraid to make mistakes, get out of your comfort zone, challenge each other.)
    • Participate fully during LDF sessions and one-on-one coaching sessions.
    • Listen from empty. (Come with questions versus answers, let go of showing other participants how effective you are and how much you know about leadership.)
    • Speak up. (Many participants demonstrate weak public speaking abilities or are overly soft spoken; leaders speak up and are conscious of how their communication affects others.)

Though seemingly trivial, much of the success of LDF can be linked to the rigorous adherence to the program objectives and expectations. Participants who do not comply with the expectations are asked to leave the program. When people are held accountable to honor their commitments, leadership shows up. During an LDF prep session, these expectations are made explicitly clear to participants setting the stage for the tenacious work of self-reflection and leadership development.


To develop LDF, the ODT adopted the following seven design strategies.

  1. Anchor LDF on the principle that leadership is a self-discovery process. As the ODT conducted research on leadership, a consistent theme emerged: one is not taught leadership; leadership is learned. According to author and international executive coach Kevin Cashman, “Leadership is not something people do, it comes from somewhere inside us, it is a process, an expression of who we are. It is our being in action.”6
  2. Focus on a small number of broad leadership practices versus a long list of competencies. A study of other Intel manufacturing sites and external programs revealed that as many as twenty-four competencies were identified as key to leadership development. Which ones would Fab 12 focus on? The ODT determined that the five leadership practices of Kouzes and Posner, which embody effective “ways of being,” offered a simpler, more powerful framework for leadership than a long list of competencies.
  3. Design or modify LDF “just-in-time” session by session. The ODT developed a shared vision that identified a high-level program schedule and key learning concepts. This allowed the team to let go of the need to have the entire program designed before the first pilot session. At the completion of each session, feedback is reviewed and inputs are incorporated into the design of upcoming sessions. This just-in-time approach allows students to benefit from sessions that are specifically tailored to meet their needs.
  4. Offer LDF as a volunteer program. Each Fab 12 department is allocated “volunteer slots.” Managers are responsible for reviewing the program with their group leaders and providing the ODT with a list of interested candidates. This process fosters real commitment; only group leaders and managers truly interested in developing their leadership abilities participate in LDF.
  5. Apply Warren Bennis’s Innovative Learning Methods to the design of LDF.7 This method advocates that learning is most effective when it is active and imaginative. Listening to others and shaping events, rather than being shaped by them, are the cornerstones of self-knowledge. Real understanding comes from reflecting on experience. This approach was adopted as the premise for all design decisions. Each session was designed to allow time for dialogue and feedback in order to allow the students to learn from one another. All sessions include action learning, whereby students get to practice what they are learning, and end with the sharing of how they will apply their new learnings on the job.
  6. Deliver LDF on-site over an extended period. Attending a program onsite is convenient, is cost effective, and builds peer relationships across factory departments. Ninety percent of LDF is delivered on-site. Onetime events inundate participants with theory; seldom do they allow participants the opportunity to practice new behaviors over an 218 BEST PRACTICES IN LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT AND ORGANIZATION CHANGE extended period. Leadership development has the most impact when it is embedded into the day-to-day lives of managers. Thus, LDF is delivered weekly over a five-month period, allowing new leadership behaviors to become habit and have lasting impact.
  7. Have ODT members serve as facilitators and coaches. As facilitators, the ODT provides a process and environment for learning. As coaches, the ODT serve as sounding boards for participants, rather then act as job content experts. As coaches, the ODT’s role is to help participants see things differently, say what they’re going to do, then do what they say. Coaches get participants to self-reflect and solve their own problems by asking questions, providing feedback, and giving assignments that open their minds to new possibilities.


Program materials are updated and delivered at the start of each session. Participants are given a binder that provides an archival system for program materials, software, leadership articles, schedules, and evaluations. Participants are placed in cross-functional “learning groups.” Typically, eighteen participants are divided into three learning groups (six participants per group). Participants remain in these learning groups throughout the duration of the program.

Each learning group is assigned an ODT facilitator or coach. This coach conducts four to six meetings with each learning group participant throughout the program to provide coaching, feedback, resources (that is, books, articles, and videos), encouragement, support, and advice specific to their leadership development needs. In the LDF prep session, the coaching role is explained, and coaches ask the participants for their permission to “press in” and challenge their thinking. Each coaching relationship is built on mutual trust and respect and a willingness to be vulnerable and self-expressed. Coaches offer 100 percent confidentiality in all their interactions with the participants. Since the beginning of LDF, the coaching sessions have been described by participants as the most valuable part of the program. Frequently, students request that the coaching sessions continue long after the LDF program has ended.

To foster accountability, LDF sessions begin by having each participant briefly update their learning group on what they have done (the doing of leadership) and how they have conducted themselves (the being of leadership) between sessions. How have they led, influenced, or moved their projects or teams forward? How have they shifted their thinking? What risks have they taken? What mistakes have they made? What relationships have they built? What personal breakthroughs have they experienced?

Based on these discussions, participants vote (secret ballot) to identify one winner from their learning group to receive the Leadership Breakthrough Award (LBA), an eighteen-inch trophy with pillars depicting the five leadership practices. The learning group winners share their stories with the entire class and display the trophy on their desks until the next session, where the process is repeated. At the conclusion of LDF, each learning group selects one person who, throughout the entire program, has developed the most as a leader, and that person is awarded the LBA permanently.

Participants complete a self-assessment at the end of the program. The assessment measures participants’ ability to apply the five leadership practices of Kouzes and Posner in their day-to-day work. A chart is posted with a matrix listing the five leadership practices and a six-point rating scale (1 = beginning, 6 = mastery). Participants score themselves “publicly” against the leadership practices and then discuss the results.

Participants use three key tools throughout the program.

  1. 1. WOW! Projects™ 8. Participants identify a specific project they will complete during LDF that links to operational goals and requires participants to lead and enroll others to take action. WOW! Projects™ need to be audacious in scope, have measurable results, have huge impact, and demand a personal breakthrough for success. WOW! Project™ efforts are discussed regularly in class and during coaching sessions. Participants hold each other accountable on actions with regard to WOW! Projects™ and offer advice and support to members of their learning groups.
  2. 2. Leadership Action Plan (LAP). The LAP is a one-page planning document referred to and updated by participants throughout LDF. As participants learn, reflect, and commit to actions or new behaviors, the LAP acts as a tracking and accountability system. Action plans for each leadership practice are recorded on the LAP and participants are held accountable to complete their plans. At the beginning of each session, participants share actions they have taken on their LAPs with their learning groups while obtaining feedback and encouragement. LAPs are also discussed with facilitators in coaching sessions and are used as a coaching tool.
  3. 3. Leadership Autobiography. The leadership autobiography is a one-page self-reflection tool that participants complete over the duration of LDF. Key questions prompt the participants to clarify their values, what they stand for as a leader, experiences that influenced who they are, the vision they have for the organization they manage, and the leadership legacy they intend to leave behind.

The ODT delivers 80 percent of the program’s content and utilizes consultants to deliver the remaining 20 percent. The ODT develops strong partnerships with consultants and contracts up front with them to ensure that materials and learning processes can be adapted to best fit the needs of the participants. This ensures that external consultants will be well received by the participants, and that LDF program objectives are met.

On average, a 20 percent redesign has been completed for each program offered. To manage the redesign process in an effective manner, the ODT adopted the following method. First, storyboards are used to build conceptual maps of the overall process and content for each session. Second, a detailed session agenda is developed, including a materials checklist and room designs. Third, the OD team conducts a detailed “dry run” prior to each session.


Prep Session (3 Hours)

The ODT and participants introduce themselves, a video is shown highlighting the LDF experience, program objectives and expectations are reviewed, and an overview of LDF is presented. Participants are informed that they will complete a WOW! Project™, use action plans, write a leadership autobiography, and complete a Leadership Practices Inventory (LPI).9 The facilitator’s role as coach is explained in detail, and participants are made aware that they will be going on an overnight camping trip where activities will be “challenge by choice.” Past graduates share the impact LDF has had on them, discuss how to get the most out of LDF, and answer participants’ questions. Participants are encouraged to rethink their commitment to the program, and let the ODT know if they choose not to go forward so interested candidates on a waiting list can attend the program in their place.

Session 1: Orientation (4.5 Hours)

Fab 12’s plant manager welcomes participants, and learning groups complete inclusion activities. A presentation is delivered making the distinction between leadership versus management, emphasizing that LDF will focus exclusively on leadership. Participants share their WOW Projects™ ideas, challenge each other against the criteria, and advise each other on how to make their projects successful. In learning groups, participants are videotaped responding to questions regarding their leadership. Without prior knowledge of the questions, participants are asked (1) What is your vision for the organization you lead? and (2) If your title and authority were taken away, why, specifically, would anyone want to be led by you? After videotaping, the groups discuss the importance of vision and their reactions to their own and other’s vision statements. Participants are expected to view the video before the next session, using it as a feedback tool.

Session 2: The Leadership Challenge™ (9 Hours, Split Over 2 Half Days)

A guest speaker presents an overview of theLeadership Model of Kouzes and Posner. In learning groups, participants share personal stories describing their best leadership efforts. Leadership Practices Inventory results are explained and delivered (group profile and individual reports). One-hour modules are delivered on each leadership practice: enabling others to act, challenging the process, inspiring a shared vision, encouraging the heart, and modeling the way. These modules include video case studies, dynamic learning activities and simulations, dialogue, self-reflection, and action planning. Participants review video footage taken of them presenting their visions in Session 1, and then provide each other feedback on the impact of their visions. Participants observe their direct reports in a focus group discussing the type of leadership they feel is needed at Fab 12. Afterward, participants and their direct reports meet individually to review their initial leadership action plans and get feedback.

Session 3: Challenging the Process (8 Hours)

WOW! Projects™ are introduced as a powerful method for challenging the process. Tom Peters’ WOW! Projects™ concepts are shown via the Internet from selected video segments from the Ninth House® Network Innovation: WOW! Projects™ Course.10 Participants transform current work into WOW! Projects™ by applying four key elements: create, sell, execute, and move on. Participants create a “quick prototype” of their project and develop a “pitch” to enlist sponsor support. Participants practice “selling” this pitch in triads, receive feedback, and incorporate the feedback into a new “pitch.” Progress on WOW! Projects™ is discussed in subsequent LDF sessions and in coaching sessions with facilitators.

Session 4: Building Trust (1.5 Days Plus Overnight Camping Trip)

This session is co-facilitated by the ODT and Venture Up.11 Participants depart from Fab 12 and caravan to a remote campsite. Learning groups travel together, one group per van, to foster team building. Upon arrival, participants are blindfolded and told to erect tents in an activity led by a group member who is not blindfolded. Participants debrief the tent activity, have dinner, then assemble at learning group campfires to discuss “what will success look like” for the following day. Personal values and leadership legacies are also shared at the campfires. On day two, Venture Up conducts a “high ropes safety orientation,” and 222 BEST PRACTICES IN LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT AND ORGANIZATION CHANGE participants caravan to a rock-climbing location. In learning groups, participants rappel down and climb up rock formations as team members coach and support each other on rope systems. Lunch is served, and participants discuss trust as a key element of leadership. A celebration is held where groups share key learnings, then learning groups return to Fab 12.

Session 5: Encouraging the Heart (4.5 Hours)

The impact of encouragement is discussed and a Fab 12 produced video is shown highlighting the difference in perceptions that managers and subordinates have regarding encouragement. Participants read excerpts from Encouraging the Heart, a Leader’s Guide to Rewarding and Recognizing Others,12 emphasizing that encouragement means being authentic, expressing our emotions, and being sincere. Participants discuss what kinds of encouragement they have received and the impact the encouragement has had on them. A video case study (Tom Melohn, North American Tool and Die)13 is presented that identifies seven key essentials for encouraging the heart: set clear standards, expect the best, pay attention, personalize recognition, tell the story, celebrate together, and set the example. Participants write letters of encouragement to coworkers, share them within their learning groups, and are given the assignment to deliver the letters and observe what happens as a result. In learning groups, participants encourage each other and acknowledge the contributions each other has made to the group by presenting certificates containing individual rock-climbing photos taken during Session 4.

Session 6: Enabling Others to Act (11.5 Hours, Split over 2 Days)

During this session, participants explore ways to enable others through developmental conversations. Career Systems International’s14 “5 L Model of Developmental Coaching” is introduced, including Listen (to the desires of the employee), Level (give feedback and reflect on development needs), Look Ahead (discuss how future trends affect the employee), Leverage (analyze options and contingency plans for enrichment), and Link (provide networking opportunities). Participants receive tools from Career Systems International, which include a coaching survey, motivational survey, interest cards, conversation cue cards, and a networking map. The session focuses on utilizing these tools to discuss employee interests and development. Participants use the tools to practice having developmental conversations with each other. Each participant develops a plan for a developmental meeting with one of their direct reports during the session, as well as a plan for their own developmental conversation with their manager. On the second day, direct reports (invited previously) join the participants for a fifty-five-minute individual development conversation; then they participate in a debriefing about the effectiveness of the those meetings. The session then switches from an individual focus to a team focus. The remainder of the session is devoted to enabling teams. Participants view The Unified Team16 video and have a discussion about the concepts presented. They self-reflect about their own team’s performance and, using a team survey, they create and share action plans to better enable their own teams.

Session 7: The Vortex (8 Hours)

Participants improve their ability to work effectively across individual, group and organizational boundaries, through a simulation experience. The ODT facilitates the Vortex Simulation™,16 where participants are assigned roles in a new organization, called the Vortex. Participants are divided into departments of leaders, marketers, designers, analyzers, and builders. To succeed in this new organization, participants must interact effectively with the other departments in the organization, create and share an organizational strategy, gain an understanding of the “big picture” environment (instead of departmental focus), and create a feedback system. Throughout the simulation, more complexity is introduced by giving selected departments new market data, changes in demand, and changes in direction for the company. At specified intervals, debriefings are held, new models for organizational effectiveness are introduced, and participants make leadership recommendations to improve the effectiveness of the simulated organization. Participants complete “reflection logs” requiring them to be introspective about how this experience relates to their work at Intel. A final debriefing is held in learning groups to discuss key learnings and develop action plans for applying their insights as leaders at Fab 12.

Session 8: Inspiring a Shared Vision (6 Hours)

Inspiration is discussed as a key component of an effectively communicated vision and is generated by a leader being authentic in his or her communication. The ODT introduces participants to a collection of articles and readings that pose the question: How authentic are you? Participants view video clips and movie scenes to assess the impact that passion, authenticity, and vulnerability have on leading others. Participants define the barriers that stop them from voicing their true convictions at work and discuss ways to overcome these barriers. Participants practice communicating authentically, and are videotaped sharing their visions with their learning groups. Participants model how they would inspire others around their vision and provide feedback to each other on the impact of their message.

Planning for Session 9 (4 Hours, 2 2-Hour Lunches)

Participants meet without the ODT to plan their presentations for Session 9.

Session 9: Modeling the Way (4 Hours)

Participants invite their managers, peers, and direct reports to an open forum,where they deliver a presentation that describes their LDF journey, results theyachieved both operational and personal, and what they are committed to asleaders. A question-and-answer session between the attendees and participantsis conducted, and then participants move to a separate room for a celebration.A Ben Zander video is shown, Leadership, an Art of Possibility,17 emphasizingthat leadership is about creating “possibility” in others. In learning groups,participants share their key learnings and the results they have produced as aresult of LDF. One person is selected by secret ballot from each learning groupas the person most deserving of the Leadership Breakthrough Award. Learninggroups conduct a roundtable process whereby participants receive recognitionand encouragement from each other. Participants receive a framed copy of theirleadership autobiography, a book called Flight of the Buffalo,18 and a LDF watchwith the words inspire, challenge, model, encourage, and enable inscribed onthe watch face.


Although it is always difficult to measure the results of any leadership development program, the ODT believes the following measures are indicative of the program’s impact both to the organization and individual participants. The ODT uses one of Albert Einstein’s famous lines as a guide to measurement: “Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.”

Overall Results

  • Forty-seven percent of participants who have completed LDF have new positions of greater responsibility.
  • Self-assessment composite results show a 68 percent improvement in participants’ ability to apply the five leadership practices to their work.
  • Eighty-nine percent of LDF participants report a stronger and expanded network of interdepartmental peers.
  • One hundred percent of LDF participants report that LDF has improved their ability to lead.
  • Benchmark: when compared to nine member companies at the Q3, 1999 SEMATECH20 Manufacturing Council meeting, Fab 12’s LDF program was recognized as the most innovative, results-oriented leadership program reviewed.
  • The ODT is always being asked how it measures the impact of LDF. It is interesting that when the ODT asked whether LDF should be continued, 100 percent of participants who completed LDF said that it should continue in an environment of numerous operational priorities.

Evaluation Results

Each program is evaluated in three ways (see table below). First, upon the conclusion of each program, self-assessment results are calculated representing a percentage improvement of how effectively participants are applying the five leadership practices. Second, each LDF session (content, process, materials, facilitation) is evaluated and a composite score is calculated using a six-point rating scale (1 = low value added, 6 = high value added). Third, the ODT asks peers, managers, and direct reports of LDF participants to write letters to participants recognizing changes they have witnessed in participants’ leadership abilities. Often the ODT receives copies of these testimonials that publicly acknowledge the positive impact participants have had as a result of their LDF experience.

Self-Assessment Results, by LDF Composite Evaluation Results

LDF Self-Assessment Results LDF Composite Evaluation Results
(percentage improvement in participant’s ability to apply 5 leadership practices over a 5-month period) (out of 6.0)
Q1/2 2004, Program 11 = In progress In progress
Q3/4 2003, Program 10 = 64% 5.5
Q1/2 2003, Program 9 = 53% 5.6
Q1/2 2002, Program 8 = 100% 5.3
Q3/4 2001, Program 7 = 58% 5.5
Q1/2 2001, Program 6 = 54% 5.8
Q3/4 2000, Program 5 = 38% 4.4
Q1/2 2000, Program 4 = 71% 5.6
Q3/4 1999, Program 3 = 56% 5.0
Q1/2 1999, Program 2 = 109% 4.7
Q3/4 1998, Program 1 = 73% 4.9


The following is a recognition letter written to a LDF participant from his manager.

Cory, I have really noticed your growth and positive change over the past couple of months. The main differences I have noticed are an increase in the passion around your work as well as your willingness to encourage the heart of those you work with. You are continuing to stretch your capabilities and are now being viewed as an expert across many factories. I really appreciate your contributions to our staff. Your leadership from within continues to make us a stronger team and is a great role model for your peers.

Best regards, Bruce.

Personal Testimonials

I have really changed my daily focus. My focus is now on building relationships with my group versus focusing always on deliverables. This has made me a more balanced leader as evidenced by improved scores on my 360 management assessment.

—SORT group leader

Efforts of the Phoenix Clean Air Initiative Team (PCAIT) which I lead resulted in the Phoenix Metropolitan Area achieving three consecutive years of zero days of unhealthy ozone readings. This ensures that Fab 12 is in attainment with the Federal Ozone 1-Hour Standard, enabling the factory to make rapid equipment and process changes without additional regulatory restrictions. The PCAIT was my LDF project. The key to its success was my application of the five leadership practices.

—Safety manager

I found the LDF program to be more powerful than my State University’s Leadership Scholarship Program. Nothing I have ever participated in has had the impact on me that LDF has. Its structure, content, facilitation, and pacing all combine to provide a thoroughly inspiring experience. As a result, I have been much more effective handling operational issues, and I am more aware of how I interact with others.

—Materials group leader

LDF has helped me understand the value of inspiring others. For too long, we’ve been losing sight of the human element in the factory. People have become a consumable resource. It’s been my goal to make people feel valued by practicing techniques demonstrated in LDF.

—Engineering group leader

LDF is a choice you make about how effective you want to be. I have been able to shift from an overwhelming goal-pressured micro-manager needing all the details to a trusting, encouraging, and inspiring contributor.

—Manufacturing shift manager

LDF reinforced the difference between management and leadership. Participating in the program enabled me to see that being vulnerable is acceptable and that learning from my peers is invaluable.

—Training manager


  • Lesson #1. Don’t wait for corporate. In a large company, there are often corporate initiatives focused on how to develop leaders. These efforts can be significant and can provide consistency while eliminating duplication. However, corporate programs can take a “one size fits all” approach, not tailored to meet the needs of its customers. At the factory level, the need to develop managers is urgent. A small team of competent individuals who understand their immediate customers’ needs can move faster than corporate efforts to creatively design and implement a leadership development process. Don’t wait for corporate, develop your program then share it with corporate, build it on the inside, share it with the outside. Be bold. Experts are people who started before you did.
  • Lesson #2. Continuously redesign and update your program. LDF is successful because the ODT continuously asks, How can we make it better? How can we enhance participants learning? No two LDF programs have ever been the same. Sessions, content, materials, and learning processes are constantly being revised, updated, added, or deleted. If the ODT observes that participants are disengaged or resistant, he or she modifies subsequent sessions or programs to address those issues. The mantra for success is: Design, deliver, redesign, and never stop seeking to enrich your audience’s learning experience.
  • Lesson #3. Leadership development equals self-reflection. Is LDF about leadership or personal development? It’s about both. Every aspect of your program needs to be designed around managers examining what they are doing and how they are being as leaders. Provide a variety of ways for them to see themselves (videotaping, assessments, focus groups, one-on-one coaching) and experience challenges whereby they can apply new learnings. Leadership programs need to provide numerous opportunities for authentic self-expression of vulnerabilities: that’s how participants learn, and that’s how participants grow. Development is not about being comfortable. Forget competency models. You can’t put the art of leadership into someone. True leadership comes from the inside out.
  • Lesson #4. Three must haves: (1) Risk—Innovate, do what’s never been done at your site, take a stand for implementing a program, be relentless. (2) Support—Do whatever it takes to get key stakeholders on board (sell senior and grassroots supporters, use data to identify development needs). Don’t get locked into the mindset that top management has to attend your program first— they just need to support it. Ensure key stakeholders “hear” from participants what value they are receiving. (3) Passion and knowledge—Implementing an effective leadership program requires dedicated, full-time resources. To succeed, these people must have knowledge of leadership theories, be innovative program developers aligned with the design principles discussed in this case study, and most important, demonstrate a passion for building leaders.


Fab 12’s LDF Program offers an innovative, comprehensive leadership development process utilizing unique learning methods over a five-month period. Participants embark on a journey of intense self-reflection, action learning, and coaching sessions whereby they are held accountable to apply new leadership behaviors on the job. Several participants report that they experience LDF as a personal transformation.

A rigorous redesign process based on participant feedback and the ODT’s relentless effort to deliver the best learning experience of participants’ careers has resulted in the continuous delivery of LDF regardless of changes in operational priorities, factory ramps, and intense cost-cutting initiatives. The ODT has achieved this while honoring the fundamental design principles and objectives on which the program was founded. LDF has provided a leadership development program that has enabled Fab 12 to meet and exceed demanding factory output goals.


  1. A “fab” is a semiconductor factory. Intel uses a number to designate each fab (i.e., Fab 8, Fab 11, Fab 12). Fab 12 is located in Chandler, Arizona, and employs 2,100 personnel.
  2. Since 1972, the Booth Company ( has provided a full series of role-specific management and leadership surveys.
  3. Bennis, Warren. On Becoming a Leader. (New York: Addison-Wesley), 1994, p. 73.
  4. Gross, Tracy, and others. “The Reinvention Roller Coaster.” Harvard Business Review, November 1992.
  5. Kouzes, James, and Posner, Barry. The Leadership Challenge. (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass), 1995. Kouzes and Posners’ Leadership Model encompasses five practices: challenging the process, inspiring a shared vision, enabling others to act, modeling the way, and encouraging the heart.
  6. Cashman, Kevin. Leadership from the Inside Out. (Utah: Executive Excellence Publishing), 1998, p. 18.
  7. Bennis, Warren. On Becoming a Leader. (New York: Addison-Wesley), 1994, pp. 76—79.
  8. WOW! Projects™ is a registered trademark of the Tom Peters Company; WOW! Projects Seminar is a copyrighted workshop (
  9. LPI (Leadership Practices Inventory), a thirty-question, 360 leadership assessment by James Kouzes and Barry Posner, assesses five leadership practices: challenging the process, inspiring a shared vision, enabling others to act, modeling the way, and encouraging the heart. LPI is a product of and published by Jossey-Bass, Pfeiffer (
  10. Ninth House and Instant Advice are trademarks of Ninth House, Inc. Innovation: WOW! Projects™ (and Capturing Brand You™ are trademarks of Tom Peters Company.
  11. Venture Up ( provides interactive and outdoor adventure team-building events, Phoenix, Arizona, since 1983.
  12. Kouzes, James, and Posner, Barry. Encouraging the Heart: A Leader’s Guide to Rewarding and Recognizing Others. (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass), 1999.
  13. The “Tom Melohn Case Study” is featured on In Search of Excellence with Tom Peters training video (
  14. Career Systems International (www.careersystemsintl), a Beverly Kaye company, provides career development, mentoring, and talent retention tools and programs, Scranton, Pennsylvania.
  15. The Unified Team Video highlights a leader’s plan for promoting team unity, covering the need to achieve, belong, and contribute (Media Partners Corporation), Seattle, Washington. Founded 1993.
  16. The Vortex Simulation designed and produced by 3D Learning, LLC (, an organizational development consulting service specializing in simulations since 1996.
  17. Leadership, an Art of Possibility video features Ben Zander, conductor of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra, who seeks to lead in order to make others powerful (
  18. Balasco, James, and Stayer, Ralph. Flight of the Buffalo (New York: Warner Books), 1993.