Researching corporate leadership needs and insights began through the creation of the Leadership Advisory Board. The first meeting was hosted in the board room of the Carlson School of Management. Over 35 companies participated at the initial event ( membership grew over next year) and the target audience included HR leadership spanning small, medium and large organizations from companies selected in multiple cities in Minneasota. The agenda for the evening was a mix of social networking with peers and collaborative feedback sessions. To facilitate the discussion we began with an overview of one of the leadership offerings under development with a pilot group of advisors. See details of this offering at an earlier post. While the size and maturity level of each of the organizations varied the level of participation, critical feedback and differentiation between what different organizations valued was impressive. The event lasted several hours between the sessions and social aspects. Here are some of the insights to the conversation:
Polar Extremes: Passionate discussion
- Internal Programs: Over the past decade, have made a decided internal investment and commitment to the development of their own leadership programs. This allows for deep specialization of leadership styles and internal knowledge of corporate operations. These groups were some of the most outspoken in terms of what they valued and their interest level in securing outside services. This approach is more available to slightly larger organizations that have the resources to provide a complete internal talent development option.
- External Programs: Other corporations felt it was critical to bring in external services for the development of their leadership cultivation. They would work with multiple external organization or sister corporations providing a variety of offerings at each level of management development. Here they valued diversity of training and perspectives to keep their organizations leadership culture evolving and reflecting. This group was represented from small to large orgs and more governed by values that resources.
- Hybrid Programs: A fair number of the companies valued both approaches and looking at each level of training needed a blend of internal specialization and external awareness of options and techniques.
Collective Alignment: Enthusiastic Agreement
- Leadership programs are essential. Not surprising coming from HR professionals, but a sincere belief in the development of people and organizations.
- A desire to collaborate and share with other organizations. This was a peer group of professionals that valued each other insights and the network in general.
- Many worked with academic organizations outside of Minnesota due to reputation, brand, and industry recognition
- Strong alignment that external offerings needed to be primary taught by industry practitioners. Very adamant that faculty only offerings would be of little interest.
This group of advisors would continue to grow as subsequent meetings would be held. We where looking to make this a peer community network and community driven. So topics of focus, formats and social/work balance would be managed by the group over time to make it valuable to the community. Our ask as host was to support our efforts in exposing the full leadership spectrum of offerings over time.