Building Leadership Development Programs

360 Leadership Circle

Carlson School of Management / Executive Education:    One of the first areas for Product Development at the  we explored was in the area of Leadership.   This is a core discipline of every business school but with changing times requires revisiting long standing programs to make them relevant to corporations and individuals.    Teaming up with faculty, one of the first steps was to reach out to several corporations with long standing relationships to the school for some initial input on the current offerings that had been provided for years.
Initial feedback was very frank and concise:
1. Many larger organization’s HR departments have developed their own leadership training programs specifically to develop key skills and knowledge for growth within their company.
2. The internal programs are more cost effective and with better benchmarks.
3. The employees need a flexibility in their schedule so spending a week off site at a school is very disruptive for them to continue to drive business forward while picking up the training.  Again, a benefit to internal programs.
4. Skill building must be developed over time and with feedback.   A short stint in a classroom is in no way sufficient to build real leaders.
5. Curriculum needs to cover more dimensions of
6. The value of Academic offerings is low.   Would not consider programs unless over 50% was delivered by real world practitioners.
Based on the feedback we had to completely revamp the standard offerings to combine a number of new unique elements into the program:
1. Leverage industry relevant benchmarking standards through out the program to help assess individuals and help them personalize the areas of skills they need to develop.
2. Develop a practice of external practitioners that would be central to the development of content and delivery of the material.
3. Spread the offering over a broader time period.   Each phase would layout a plan for developing several dimensions of skill thus increasing focus and not overloading the development on every front.
4. Support each phase through having individuals assigned to external coaches training in helping the development of personalized roadmaps and ongoing feedback between the onsite courses.   This would span 6 – 9 months of development relationship,  with the option of continuing the coaching relationship on going.
5. A key goal was to provide more of the basic content through online videos.   This would provide flexibility for attendees to consume materials according to their schedules,  allow for reviewing materials trough the coaching phases and minimize the number of on site days at the school and away from the office.   Note **:   Though this has become common practice at many academic institutions,  the UMN is only at the beginning of developing these capabilities.   There was very limited budget, bandwidth, infrastructure, and vision for supporting these features and they had to be postponed until a later date.
6. Building Peer relationships is important in career development and attending a business school is a great way to expand that peer network.  The leadership program would incorporate a lot of peer review in addition to building in social outings to allow relationships to develop.
Through many iterations,  the final offering centered in the middle of the leadership continuum focused on Leading Managers as and initial offerings with plans to develop a suite of offerings spanning the full spectrum of leadership development.
Leadesrhip Levels
This is a quick summary of the initial offering:
Pre Work:  Participants would go online to complete the 360 self assessment to have a base line prior to the program.   They would also identify their boss, 6 peers, and up to 6 direct reports that would be engaged in providing feedback in the program.
Day 1:  What do organizations expect
–  Introductions and exercises to help the group get to know each other
– Overview of leadership competencies needed to succeed at higher levels.   What does progression look like, how does it change over time and responsibilities levels.
– Five Temptations of High Potentials.   Where do leaders make mistakes.
– Interpreting the Leadership Circle Profile results from the pre-work.
Day 2: Accelerate Relationships
– Group exercises, each focused on relationship build skills and communication.   How well can you create a relationship and communicate key messages.   Sharing feedback and identifying strengths and weaknesses.
–  Personal Influence and understanding corporate politics, influences, tactics and approaches.
– Evening social event to network and get to know class mates better.   The hope is that these peer relationships will last past the program and become valued relationship on going in their career.
Day 3: Accelerate Achievement:  Business insight to create compelling strategies for your organization
– Peer exercises and frameworks to building out each piece plan and approach.   Strong group collaboration and feedback.
– Vision and Strategy:  Seeing how your teams strategies align to the overall corporate objectives.
Day 4: Your Personal Development Plan
– Work with your executive coach to review your initial assessment and group feedback.   Develop and action plan to development of skills in your workplace.  Setup schedule for coaching sessions over the next several months.
– Meet with a peer and review each other plans offering feedback.  Setup schedule for peer coaching over the next several months.
(  Approx. 2 month break to work on executing your development plan )
– Review plan with your boss, peers, and direct reports.
– Work with your executive coach and peer coach throughout the break
– Get feedback from all parties prior to attending the next module
Day 5: Authenticity / Integrity
– Welcome, sharing experiences of the past several months,  coaching insights, challenges, etc.
– Situational based exercises designed to share insights into complex situations and behaviors
Day 6: The Healthy You
– Composure and Mindfulness
– Work / Life balance – Managing stress
– Renewal / Health
– Reflect on your ongoing plan for development – Note:  Continued coaching available.
With the basic program in place we set out to create a larger leadership advisory board from a variety of different companies to gain their insights and feedback into the offering.    Stay tuned for the outcomes from the board…