Is Your Leadership Development Program Best-in-Class?

BY Kathy Crosett
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To truly prepare candidates in your organization for leadership positions, you must commit time and money to a visible program. Research conducted by Harvard Business Publishing Corporate Learning, an organization that develops leadership programs, finds that too many executives aren’t making the critical connection between investing in their managers and the improved bottom line in the future.

Not every organization can afford to establish a best-​in-​class leadership development program. In fact, only 7% of surveyed enterprises put themselves in that category. These businesses are generally large, with over 10,000 employees.

Even if you lack the resources to put a best-​in-​class development program in place, you can still invest in training that enhances characteristics which many managers have identified as critical.

  • Teaching techniques should be more innovative: 75%+
  • Senior leaders and students want programs to help demonstrate integrity: 77%
  • Senior leaders and students expect to learn how to manage complexity: 75%
  • Younger learners are more excited about eLearning (50%), on-​demand (50%) and freeware (53%)

Whether you’re using in-​house resources or a contractor to manage your leadership programs, you need to come together and agree on a curriculum that is relevant to your organization’s needs. You don’t want to become one of the 19% of business managers who think their leadership programs aren’t specifically relevant to the issues they’re facing. Most likely, you do want to align yourself with enterprises that have successful programs and also believe they have an internal pipeline of future leaders. In at least 75% of top organizations, the CEO is visibly and strongly committed to the leadership development program, so make sure your CEO is on board with your efforts.

Businesses continue to quibble about the best way to measure whether L&D programs are working. This is another critical element for trainers and upper management to agree on. If possible, get those details nailed down before your employees start their training.

The bottom line from this survey is that strong L&D programs are seen as driving competitive performance in over half of businesses who use them. If you make your L&D program a priority, allocate resources for the effort and show CEO support, you can count on a solid ROI.