Friday, March 28, 2014

5 Ways You Can Improve Your Leadership Development Program Right Now

Leadership development is a priority for most organizations, including yours, but many overlook determining if it really works. Now is the time to start assessing the effectiveness of these programs. Dr. Chris Musselwhite suggests five steps for assessing and increasing the effectiveness of your leadership development program.

1. Shorten the learning horizon. That is the time between taking action and understanding the consequences. Many situations are so complex that leaders often fail to make the connection between their behaviors and actions and the consequences, which may not show up for some time. Making the connection between actions and consequences is critical. Just talking with leaders about this doesn’t work. Experimental activities such as simulated learning can address this problem by shortening the learning horizon in the classroom.

2. Enable participants to learn about their preferences and behavior styles and how those are perceived and interpreted by others. The leadership development work needs to be up close and personal, not abstract and theoretical.

3. Try a 360-degree assessment. Discovery Learning uses a process called the Plus process. Leaders select goals from a 360-degree assessment, after which they are enrolled in a Web-based process that enables them to create a learning network of co-workers who can observe and measure the leader’s progress. After three months, leaders complete a follow-up assessment through this learning network to see how they have progressed toward their selected goals. 

4. Make coursework experiential. For example, the Discovery Leadership Program is a four-day program that integrates two simulations and several individual assessments, along with a 360-degree assessment. It utilizes a peer coaching model that enables participants to exchange feedback. 

5. Integrate data and experience. Provide participants with data about their styles and preferences, and then in real time they can see their impact on others as they strategize, problem-solve, negotiate, innovate, and resolve conflicts.

Read the full article originally published in Training Magazine here


  1. I think that point 3 is particularly powerful. Maintaining the energy after a developmental program can be a challenge for leaders and it can be easy to revert back to previous behaviors in order to "get the job done". McKinsey published an article in January that highlights why some leadership programs fail. They specifically call out "failing to measure results" and specifically mention the use of 360 degree- feedback exercises as a strong option for keeping leaders engaged in their learning experience after a program ends.


Follow by Email