Learn how the five key steps in a strategic leadership development program are directly linked to advancing your organization’s overall vision and objectives.
- Many of us have encountered a traditional leadership development program. You know the ones that include a variety of topics that don't directly link to the organization's vision or strategy? These might be internal programs that are offered once you start managing others and they might include classes on things like communication and team building. Or maybe your company has an external approach and they will send you to get an MBA at a local university with coursework on influencing, conflict management, strategy, or culture.
These traditional leadership programs are helpful, but they're basic. With strategic leadership development every aspect is directly linked to advancing the organization's overall vision and objectives. Now you can build this type of program yourself, or you can work with an external vendor, but regardless of your approach, if you want an outstanding outcome with significant measurable business impact there are five critical steps. Be sure to download the Exercise File and follow along with these steps.
It covers a case study that focuses on a staffing company that built a leadership academy for over 600 franchise owners. Now let me give you an overview and then throughout the course we will go into more depth on each step. To get started, imagine going to your doctor's office for a headache that's been bothering you for several days. The doctor walks in the examining room, takes a look at you and says I understand you're having headaches. I'm going to prescribe you advanced strength ibuprofen. You would most likely think what? Aren't you going to ask me some questions or examine me? And you'd be right to wonder, because prescription without diagnosis is malpractice.
When you're building a strategic leadership development program you're the organization's doctor and the research and analysis part is when you're examining your patient. It is without a doubt the most critical in the five step process. You're working to gain a thorough understanding of the organization's business and leadership challenges, so that when you prescribe a solution you get it right the first time. In the second step, the information collected and evaluated in the research and analysis phase is used to develop a design for achieving the organization's strategy and objectives.
A design is the architecture of your program. It's basically the structure. For example, in our case study, step one, the research phase, identified that the franchise owners needed a variety of methods for learning to have the most impact. So the design, or architecture, included a two year program with a few in-person sessions, leadership coaching, monthly webinars, video vignettes, and more. Next, leadership development programs will have a varying degree of reliance on outside experts to serve as instructors.
And in almost all cases, experts are needed to be engaged to help create materials. If it becomes clear during the design phase that certain instructors are needed, go ahead and contact them immediately, so that they can begin working with your project team. They'll need to be involved to ensure that you're building an integrated program design, and not just lining up a series of interesting speakers. Imagine that you have a long piece of red yarn. The red yarn symbolizes a theme.
You want to thread this red yarn through your entire program. To do this, make sure that key players are included in the design as early as possible, so they understand how their content integrates with the overall design. Once your new program is ready to implement it's time to run a pilot. This helps ensure that you have rigorous evaluation and that all of your objectives are met. There will always be adjustments that need to be made after you try it on for the first time.
Once the pilot is complete and fully implemented you're ready to roll out your new leadership initiative. It'll still be important for you to continually monitor and adjust your program to maintain the cutting edge you have worked so hard to create. Think of it like this, if you were a pilot and chose to fly across your country you would have to make continuous adjustments to arrive at your destination. If you just set the location and didn't adjust along the way you would end up far off track. A leadership program is the same.
Continuous adjustments must be made to ensure excellence and strategic results.
- Moving from traditional to strategic leadership development
- Creating a leadership development model
- Researching and analyzing your company to assess its needs
- Choosing the most powerful design elements
- Balancing different types of learning
- Measuring your program's ROI
- Creating a powerful final design
- Selecting and integrating instructors and program materials
- Budgeting and running a pilot program