Life Cycle Butterfly

Here at EPI we are constantly tinkering with our leadership curriculum. I think that’s what makes ours unique: it is truly a living thing.

Where do I typically begin? I immerse myself in leadership materials, collecting articles and research. My personal “Leadership Folder” is plastered with sticky notes full of statistics and ideas for updates.

Like most life cycles, the real work is in the early stages of development.


  • Brainstorm
  • Outline
  • Build framework
  • Write, write, write
  • Develop activities
  • Customize template
  • Incorporate design principles
  • Add depth with photos and quotes

Every now and then a module will take on a life of its own. It will begin with a kernel, a small thought, a few ideas down on paper. Then, like kindling thrown into a fire, it grows and grows and becomes something unique and greater than the sum of its parts.

Implement and Transform

  • Facilitate
  • Module in action
  • Feedback

The development process is one thing, but the real change happens in the room when we discover how the leader-learner responds. For some, the impact is obvious—I see it on their faces. And for others, those who are reflective and quiet, absorption takes time—months, sometimes years.

Guiding people to find their leader within requires me to continue to push myself.

I review the modules contained in our guides over and over because I want to make sure we are never complacent or rely too heavily on what we did five years ago—or even one year ago.

Recently I was looking at our Lead Change Well product, combing through words, deleting a few here and there, tightening sentences, adding quotes, and finding ways to add dimension through new stories and experiences. My thoughts ranged from how to get the learner out of their chairs and engaged in ideas to how to give them a few minutes to reflect on their own stories.

I want learning about leadership to be fun and engaging in a way that ignites passion!

Because leading people is complicated and overwhelming—and great leaders will invest themselves in an all-consuming way—I want to be direct with participants and support them in building a foundation of confidence. They can then tap into their passion to push through tough times, without taking themselves too seriously.

The iterations we go through ensure our courses live beyond the initial modules. They continue to evolve and create opportunities for new leadership life.

And then what happens?

Review and Revise

  1. Reflect
  2. Make adjustments
  3. Discover new research
  4. Make more adjustments
  5. Facilitate again

I want to continue to impact leaders, so the work is never really done. It is an ongoing journey of refining the material and honing my own skills along the way.

Deanell Sandoval, Vice President of Leadership and Development 

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