Leadership development is important at all levels, but perhaps the greatest leverage comes in developing current and future executive leaders. In our work with Clients around the world we are asked to help executives develop their skills and develop the other executives in their organizations.
While any executive leadership development program is complex, and can’t be explained or designed in a few hundred words, there are seven factors that will be found in all the best programs. Let’s talk about each of these briefly . . .
Organizational Fit. Your executive leadership development program can’t be off-the-shelf. It must be designed to fit your organization’s goals, values and strategies.
Expected Participation. Your development program must engage participants early and throughout the program. It must be more than a “check off the boxes” approach, and participants must see it as integral and expected part of their work.
Ongoing Process. An effective executive leadership development program can’t just be one or more workshops or seminars. Like learning itself, it must be a process, rather than a series of events. This means that your program must well planned and designed for long term growth and improvement. Having more effective executives is worth it, right?
Complete Feedback. As leaders it is often difficult to get complete and accurate feedback. This gets harder the further up in the organization people move. That is why your program must provide executives with the opportunity to get more and more honest feedback. A 360 Assessment, with integrated coaching and action planning is the best way to make this happen.
Coaching Included. The best performers in any field get coaching – including executive leaders. One way to make your development program more effective and create it as an ongoing process is to include formalized coaching.
Multi-Faceted. Because different people learn in different ways and the variety of what needs to be learned at the executive level is great, variety is needed. The program should have many components woven together. Some have been mentioned here, but this is only a start. The more broadly the program is conceived and the more different types of experiences included, the more effective the program will be.
Partly Outsourced. While there are organizations that would happily handle your full program, handing off a program of this importance doesn’t make sense. Should you include external resources for planning, design, 360 Assessments, Coaching and more? Of course! An outside perspective is critical to the ultimate success of these programs. And the internal roles of integration, CEO participation and more cannot be replaced either. Finding the outsourcing balance is a key to the success of your executive leadership development program.
If you are looking for assistance in creating or updating your executive leadership development programs, contact us to discuss our exclusive diagnostic process or related consulting and coaching services.