An earlier post listed the 7 Principles of Leadership Development in no specific order of importance:

Exploring lessons learned and how an organization and I developed a leadership development process for high potential employees.

…leaders are not colleagues or cattle, and organizations are not leader farms. Somehow or other individuals acquire the ability and confidence to lead. Organizations can create some necessary or at least useful conditions for leadership growth, such as careful selection, training and chances to lead. But organizations cannot grow leaders.  – John Adair

Education for Leadership

Now that we have an idea of the needed skilled-knowledge, selected who should be involved, and began the development of using existing employees as mentors in the leadership development process; our planning turned to how we will actually go about teaching and imparting the needed skilled-knowledge to the high potential future leaders.

The Leadership Planning Team, Human Resources and I decided that the ‘typical’ classroom and off-site would not be appropriate for this leadership development.

We needed a process that was highly collaborative and customizable to fit the organizations changing needs.

Working with the high potentials as a group and individual, fine tuning the program content; We developed a pre-test and face to face interview assessment based upon the defined Skilled-Knowledge.

The interviews supplied the development team with a current level of competency and areas for development. Setting firm expectations for the process and measures of strengths and constraints.

Next we gathered feedback from the participants peers, subordinates, managers and key customers if any. A 360 feedback process was initiated.

Each potential leader co-created plans with their mentor(s) and Mike for his or her continued development. The plans were based on first finding what’s working well and then leveraging that to improve in areas, that were defined as skilled-knowledge areas.

The plan for development was co-created and presented to the individual’s manager and mentor for approval.

Specific Education for Leadership Elements

During the leadership-development process, Mike interviewed program participants, their mentors and managers for ongoing feedback on a monthly basis, gathering data, providing coaching and solution-focused feedback to each leader, and developing real-time field assignments.

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In addition to the personal conversations, program participants were invited into a private website. They received regular skill-based leadership content, and discussed it as a group.

Exploring how best to transfer the learning. Once field assignments were completed, participants practiced behaviors and reported their results. This provided the opportunity to share information and best practices, and comment on each others’ progress.

Team projects were developed. Each of these projects had an overarching reach into the organization, impacting both the financial and cultural aspects of the organization.

Training modules were facilitated on a regular basis during the process. This provided time to reflect and focus on individual and team development.

We combined elements of leadership development, individual coaching and team building into one organic process.

The length of the each high potential’s time in the process varied. They were involved until they were identified as reaching capacity, having mastery of the skilled-knowledge areas and showed the ability to fill management and individual contributor positions.

Armed now with the needed Skilled-Knowledge, Selection Process, Managers as Mentors and how we will Educate for Leadership the ~150 potential managerial-leaders, we kept on focusing on what is working and what the next steps will be…

What do you think?

Within your organization how do you Educate for Leadership? What works best?

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Reference: John Adair; How to Grow Leaders