Many steps are required to make any leadership development program successful. First, HR representatives, executives, and your CEO must want to build an LDP. Once you've reached agreement on this, you must identify a manager for the program and hold a planning meeting.
This process should begin with a half- to full-day meeting, although it will take more than one meeting to properly plan the LDP. The initial meeting should include the LDP manager, the head of HR, the head of the company's training group (if you have one), and other HR business partners who understand the concerns of the company's various business units and functional areas. You may also want to include an influential member of the company's executive staff who can represent the executives' interests in planning the LDP. If your HR business partners are well informed of the executives' business agendas this representation may not be needed, but you will still want executives to review and approve your final plans for the program.
The agenda for this first LDP planning meeting will include:
- discussion of the full LDP model and which portions of the model will be included in your company's LDP implementation
- a conversation about how to identify the group of high-potential employees who will be asked to participate in the LDP, including how to ensure that you have representation from all business units, functional groups, and geographic areas, as well as a target size for the group
- discussion about how long the LDP should last (one to two years) and how many education sessions should be included in the program
- a brainstorming session about the list of topics for the LDP education sessions
- a brainstorming session about the types of action learning projects that might be assigned to follow each of the education sessions
- a planning process for conducting 360-degree assessments and writing IDPs for LDP participants
- discussion of how the mentoring program will be structured and who from the company's executive staff would make the best mentors
- a conversation about where you might hold LDP education sessions
- a session to define the roles and responsibilities for various components of the LDP and how to enlist the support of the HR, training, and IT staff, and company executives who will be involved in making the LDP a success
- a decision about how to evaluate each LDP participant and the program as a whole.
Once consensus has been reached on all of the above, you can assign responsibility to the LDP manager and others to create plans for the various aspects of the project, then move forward knowing you have a solid course of action to follow.
Note: This article is excerpted from Feeding Your Leadership Pipeline by Daniel R. Tobin.
Daniel R. Tobin is a consultant, coach, and author on corporate learning strategies and leadership development programs. He has worked in the training and development field for 30 years and has extensive experience in leadership and management development, executive education, sales and sales support training, and technical education. Tobin earned a master's degree from the Johnson Graduate School of Management and a PhD in the economics of education, both from Cornell University. He was included in Leadership Excellence magazine's 2008 - 9 Top 100 list of thought leaders on leadership; linkedin.com/in/danieltobin; tobincls.com.
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