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Leadership Development

A Discussion Paper

Leadership Development Program

Effective development programs typically have a number of characteristics, in that they:

  • deal with real issues and provide models and learning that can be directly applied on-the-job
  • capture the organisation's attention and gain the active involvement of senior management and participants
  • stretch, challenge, enrich and support participants in working and living more effectively
  • are measurable, goal directed and produce a real result for the business and participants.

To gain maximum involvement of participants and senior managers, the program must be seen to be prestigious and built into the normal performance management structures of the business.

The leadership program focuses on developing, in order of importance, the key dimensions, competencies and skills required. Typically a leadership initiative increases participant's understanding and range of behaviours, increases self-awareness and understanding of the impact of the leader's style and supports participants in achieving their professional development goals.

Core Components
The program will include a number of core components.

Leadership Assessment: each participant is evaluated against the Leadership Model. A range of methods are available to achieve this and include: guided self assessment, an assessment centre, external assessment.

Professional Development Plan: development goals are established that reflect the aspirations of the participant, their leadership evaluation, challenges of their role and their business goals. These development goals form the foundation of the individual development plan that each participant undertakes.

Other Components
Other components of the program are selected according to the needs of the leaders and the business. Potential components are described below.

Scenario Planning: key business opportunities are tackled in structured scenario planning sessions. These sessions are designed to produce real results for the business and increase strategic planning capabilities.

Individual Projects: each participant completes individual projects that assist them in achieving development goals and adding direct value to the business.

Internal/External Projects: teams of leaders work on key issues within the business. Examples can include researching global issues, business improvement, involvement in industry and government bodies, developing new products and developing new perspectives for the business.

Expert Mentoring: a formal mentoring scheme is established using acknowledged internal and external experts. Mentors may include current and retired senior executives and CEOs from other organisations and senior executives from elsewhere in your organisation. Mentors and mentorees are provided with the skills required, the mentoring relationship is formally established and progress against development goals is determined.

Tailored Workshops: a series of short workshops target specific capabilities. These workshops typically support managers in achieving their development goals through the completion of projects and activities. Expert corporate and industry speakers challenge participants' thinking and approaches. People skills are typically developed through this form of group interaction and skills practice.

Acting Positions: individual leaders are assigned to positions that enhance their long term development and opportunities. This development option typically forms part of the succession planning strategy.

Formal Study: leaders undertake local and/or overseas world class courses, e.g. Harvard, Mount Eliza etc.

Debates: the ability of leaders to discuss diverging views is critical to the robust exploration of alternative business strategies. Facilitated debates support leaders in discussing the issues facing the business and its people. Presentation, media interview and other public speaking skills can be included in this methodology.

Special Events: these are high profile events that include recognised national and international experts. Typically these events provide cutting edge insights and information to the leaders and other senior managers.

Many of the development options mentioned require participants to produce and present results that directly benefit the business and participants. All projects undertaken require the approval and involvement of a senior manager or CEO.

Move on to next section of this article Integration.


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