Final Project


The CLPS final project is your culminating work demonstrating your understanding of the major leadership concepts and principles covered in the CLPS coursework. The final project is an opportunity to think about what you have learned during the program and how you can apply it to your existing or future work. The final project will also demonstrate your ability to frame your adaptive challenge and articulate your work to resolve the issue. During this project, students will work independently and with a state fish and wildlife mentor. Mentoring is a smart organizational practice in which people come together to transfer or develop a specific skill set from one to another. Mentoring is about growth and change, movement, and discovery. In the mentoring process, transformational learning and leveraging of experiences become gateways to growth and development.


You can work on your final project at any time up to six months after your CLPS coursework is complete. The final project is conducted in three phases: a) proposal, b) implementation, and c) final report. The implementation period between proposal and final report should be no less than two months.

Define your leadership challenge.

The challenge should:

  • Be appropriate to your level of work and aspirations in the next 1-3 years;
  • Be a part of your regular work so that it does not add more than 5 hours per week to your regular workload;
  • Focus on the growth and development of your leadership skills and abilities

The challenge should not:

  • Try to solve “world hunger” or other unrealistic problems and issues;
  • Be overwhelmingly technical in nature

The challenge can:

  • Push you to find leadership abilities that you did not know you have;
  • Be ongoing – you do not have to solve the challenge in the time period

Write a proposal

Submit written 1 page proposal to MAT

  1. Articulate the leadership challenge in clear and concise terms of not more than two sentences by answering the question, “What is the change you hope to impact?”
  2. Outline challenge key components:
  • Title
  • Outcomes: What are the long-term, desired outcomes you would like to affect?
  • Summary of Project: Include the background and synopsis of the problem/challenge.
  • Stakeholders: Describe the players and their roles in your challenge.
  • Technical vs Adaptive Elements: What do you see as the technical and adaptive elements of the challenge: See “Leadership without Easy Answers” by Ron Heifetz.
  • Timeline: What is your plan of action to begin practicing leadership as part of this project?
  1. Submit the proposal to MAT for approval and comment.
  2. Project Implementation

Following MAT approval, you will independently begin your project implementation. Your MAT advisor will be available for consultation should you have difficulty with a specific aspect of your project, however in order to learn from the process, students will be expected to work through problems on their own with minimal guidance from their state fish & wildlife mentor. If you need assistance with selecting a mentor or you reach an impasse please contact your MAT advisor for directions. Implementation should last no less than two months. Adaptive problems are complex and minimum of two months focused on intervention and analysis is require to get the most benefit from the project. It is recommended to keep an ongoing journal capturing your leadership challenge progress to help write your final report. Again, remember you have a total of 6 months, start to finish, to complete the project.

  • What worked well?
  • What worked poorly?
  • What will you differently in the coming weeks?
  • How are you progressing with the adaptive elements of your challenge?
  • Identify when you “got on the balcony” or “turned up the heat”, etc.

Final Report

No less than 2 months after implementation you can submit a final report. The nature of leadership challenges does not usually lend itself to be “wrapped up” in a short period of time. It is expected that most challenge reports will not be written as ‘completed projects’, but rather a ‘work in progress’. The final report phase will consist of three parts: Abstract, Report, and Presentation.

Abstract: 250 words or less

Report: Write a detailed summary of your final project, 3-5 pages in length.

  1. “Lay out the game plan”
  • Background/context of the challenge.
  • Restate the leadership challenge. If the challenge changed in the process, please note.
  1. “What have you done”, consider:
  • Leadership concepts applied to the challenge.
  • How did you interact with primary players?
  • Did you make any progress in your relationships with them?
  • How did they respond to you exercising leadership?
  • Describe how you orchestrated conflict and created holding environments.
  • What is working well in your challenge, and what is not working well?
  1. “Looking forward”, consider:
  • What is the long-term prognosis for your challenge?
  • What were the key learning points for you to more effectively practice leadership in the long-term?
  • What will you do exercise leadership more effectively in the future?

Presentation: Video record a 2-4 minute oral presentation of your leadership challenge. You do not need to recap the written report, rather try and summarize the challenge succinctly and share something compelling about your challenge (important lessons learned, next steps, etc.). The focus of this exercise is seeing your leadership presence, articulating your challenge and the lessons learned. The video recording doesn’t have to be elaborate. For example you could have a friend video your presentation using your cell phone then sending us the recording as an attachment. Or, you could do something more elaborate using software programs such as adobe connect to create your video. Be creative and if you need any assistance, please contact the MAT for assistance.

Next: Learn about CLPS Enrollment




Contact Bettina Fiery with questions about the CLPS Final Project, or to learn more about the CLPS program.