Strengthening Leadership at Naval Systems Management Activity

Positive Intelligence® provides a mental fitness program for NSMA’s leadership team

Naval Systems Management Activity and Positive Intelligence

Employees at Naval Systems Management Activity (NSMA) face challenges typical of high-pressure work environments, including frequent change, constant demands, and high stress levels.

NSMA is a U.S. federal government acquisition organization that provides integrated acquisition support to the Navy and Marine Corps. The organization is comprised of civilian employees who work to support the Department of Defense acquisition process in various capacities, including financial management, security, contracts, and engineering​.

To address its work environment challenges, NSMA implemented the PQ® Program among its 10-person leadership team, resulting in improved stress management, resilience, leadership development, teamwork, and change management.

“I would say that we work in a pretty stressful environment. We work in a space that has competing priorities. There’s a lot of pressure on our employees,” says Pam Shoemaker. “We needed to find a tool to provide them with ways to take the stress off.”

Earned Trust

PQ Program Impact on NSMA’s Leadership Team



improved their emotional intelligence



are better at coaching and inspiring others



handle personal relationship conflicts better



manage stress better



feel more engaged at work



use mental and emotional energy more effectively

Key Outcomes & Impacts

The PQ Program at NSMA provided participants with daily practices and exercises designed to build mental fitness. The team met weekly to discuss progress and share insights. Throughout the program, participants engaged with the PQ app, which provided guided exercises and reflections to reinforce new concepts.

While NSMA leaders participate in many structured leadership development programs, they highlight the value and importance of the PQ Program’s varied work and life applications.

“How the PQ Program is different is that it’s more of a continual process. So, I find myself using the techniques and the strategies to get through critical conversations. It’s like a daily practice whereas in other training, there’s nothing there for you to take with you to practice,” says Kathleen Tindal.

Mutual Accountability

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Stress Management & Resilience


The PQ Program significantly enhanced resilience and stress management among the NSMA leaders. The leadership team members say their ability to handle unexpected challenges and stay composed under pressure has improved, and they’re also managing stress better in their personal lives.

“You know, everyone deals with stress differently and all the challenges and all the different personalities we have to work with. I think the goal is to better align us together as a leadership group so that when we go off to our functional areas we could try to instill a calmness amongst the staff so that they can better cope with it themselves,” says Tindal.

Leadership Development

The PQ Program bolstered individual resilience and honed the team’s leadership skills. Leaders learned to communicate more effectively, fostering greater understanding, patience, and empathy within their teams. Participants highlight how the program equipped them with tools to support their teams more effectively and promote a more positive work environment.

“My primary goal was to find a set of tools that I could use and that I could share with coworkers to help find the good in life’s circumstances when life gets hard and gets stressful,” says Shoemaker. “What are ways that I can internally reprocess that and find a positive outlook? Part of that is building relationships with coworkers, holding each other accountable, and being able to rely on each other to pick each other up when we’re having a tough day or when something doesn’t go as planned.”

Teamwork & Collaboration


The PQ Program allowed NSMA’s leadership team members to understand and manage their Saboteurs — the negative thought patterns that often hinder teamwork and collaboration.

Through structured exercises and team discussions, the participants developed greater empathy for themselves and others, and they strengthened the positive regions of their minds that promote exploration, innovation, and calm, clear-headed action. This shared personal and professional growth journey reinforced bonds among team members, creating a more cohesive and supportive work environment.

“We all are really focused on our mission, and that really unites us. We’re really excited about what we do every day. But this really added another layer to the team,” says Biondi.


Change Management

Change management, a critical aspect of organizational resilience, has improved at NSMA through the PQ Program. With the organization’s frequent shifts in priorities, it’s essential for leaders to foster a mindset that embraces change rather than resists it. The program enabled leaders to guide their teams through transitions more smoothly by improving communication strategies and fostering empathy. This approach reduced resistance to change and ensured that all members were aligned and prepared for new challenges, resulting in a more agile and responsive organization.

Raj Raman shares, “This course has helped me emphasize the positive opportunities that come with change rather than dwelling on potential negatives.”

PQ Program Components for Organizations


Positive Intelligence delivers a mental fitness program to help individuals and organizations achieve their full potential for performance and happiness.

The PQ Program is simple to promote, implement, and scale with the help of the dedicated PQ Client Success Team.

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    PQ Program

    • Introduces participants to the key concepts of Positive Intelligence
    • Focuses on developing mental resilience, self-awareness, and emotional wellbeing
    • Equips participants with practical tools to manage stress and enhance performance

    PQ-Powered Teams

    • Builds on the PQ Program to enhance team dynamics
    • Provides a common language and framework for effective communication
    • Encourages collaboration, trust-building, and mutual accountability within teams


    • Deepens the application of PQ Program principles
    • Offers advanced tools and strategies for continued personal and professional growth
    • Reinforces the program’s impact on individual wellbeing and organizational culture

A Culture of Resilient Leadership

The PQ Program continues to drive positive change and growth at NSMA, setting a benchmark for resilient leadership in challenging environments. Through its commitment to personal and professional development, NSMA’s leadership team is overcoming challenges and emerging as a more resilient, effective, and forward-thinking group of leaders.

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