How do you rate your leadership development programme?

The success of a company’s future depends largely on recognising and developing the next generation of leaders. However, many companies overlook longer term leadership development to focus on more immediate challenges.

According to the 2014 survey from Deloitte University, 86% of business executives rated leadership as urgent or important. Despite this, only 13% of companies rated themselves highly when it came to providing leadership programs at all levels and 51% said they lack confidence in their ability to maintain clear, consistent succession programs.

To improve your leadership development programme you must target leaders at all levels and understand there are no shortcuts to building a successful leadership team and pipeline. Here are a few critical points that can help organisations make their leadership development more successful:

  1. Think about the present and future needs of the company

What skills do you need your leader-managers to have? Are there areas in which you can forecast a skills gap? In what areas do you want your company to grow? Thinking about these issues can help you to be more effective in creating powerful interventions.

  1. Differentiate between training, and development

If somebody needs to learn a practical skill, they need training. If someone needs to acquire knowledge or to gain experience in different ways of doing things, they need development. Training and development are different things and need to be approached in different ways. The starting point is to identify the specifics of what people need.

  1. Have a clearly defined ‘learning objective’

To assess development effectively you have to start with a clear idea of what you want to achieve. This objective should be as simple as possible. It should also, whenever possible, be something that can be measured both qualitatively and quantitatively. The learning objective(s) has to be decided before any development programme is designed. How do you want people to think, feel and act differently?

  1. Create a process for measuring overall performance and growth

Targeted assessments at various stages of a development programme can help keep it on track. One method is the use of 360-degree assessments. Using these throughout a program can show whether participants are developing the desired leadership capabilities or if adjustments need to be made.


Written by Kevin Lawrence (Managing Director of the Odyssey Group)