6 Key Steps For Designing Leadership Development Programs
I was recently asked by a global HR trade organization to deliver a webcast presentation on executive development. The focus of the webinar required me to reflect on the approach that I use to develop leadership development programs. The process that I have found most effective has been influenced by thought leadership from the Center for Creative Leadership and ASTD which I’ve adapted to meet the needs of my clients representing diverse industries.
Here are the 6 steps that I follow to design effective leadership development programs that deliver successful outcomes:
6 Key Steps For Leadership Development Program Design:
1. Focus on the Business Goals: It all begins with the long-term business goals and operational strategies of the organization.
- Understand the 5 year business plan of the company. Refresh your understanding of the business goals and related strategies by reading the most current annual report and quarterly financial results presentation materials.
- Conduct a strategic needs analysis with your CEO to confirm what leaders need to do differently or better to deliver the target business goals. Ask what the risks are to the company if nothing is done from a learning and development perspective.
- If you need a better understanding of what drives shareholder value for your company, consider using an Enterprise Value Map. This tool can help define what impacts revenue, operating margin, asset efficiency and shareholder expectations for your organization. Check out my previous post on Creating Shareholder Value.
2. Align with the Leadership Strategy: The next step is to use the leadership strategy as the driver and foundation for the leadership development program. In my experience the leadership strategy involves one or more of the following components:
- Leadership Culture
- Leadership Competencies
- Building Bench-Strength and Leadership Pipeline
- Succession Management
- Leadership Retention
3. Define Successful Performance: Here the capabilities required for successful performance are defined:
- Strategic Performance Modeling: Is performed to identify the strategic context of the leadership job or job group and the capabilities that will be needed to deal with emerging challenges and new responsibilities.
- Leadership Competency Model: The skills, knowledge, attitudes and other capabilities needed for successful performance by leaders, now and in the future.
4. Measure Performance and Potential: This step involves measuring the performance, capabilities and future potential of the leadership population. I really enjoy this stage of the process because it often involves:
- Multi-Rater Feedback
- Leadership Assessments
- Performance & Potential Evaluation (9 Box Grid)
5. Develop Leadership Capabilities: Now we get to introduce the leadership development program itself! Focused on the business goals, leadership strategy, and key competencies, instructional design considerations include:
- Formal Classroom Learning
- Action Learning
- Cross-Functional & Global Job Rotations
- Social Learning
- Coaching and Mentoring
- Exposure to Senior Executives
- Exposure to the Strategic Agenda
6. Achieve Business Results: Evaluate the leadership development program and the business outcomes:
- Measure the Impact of the Program
- Adjust and Realign the Program if required
This 6 step process has worked really well for me, what works for you?