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When designing a leadership development program for your organization, it is important to establish a strong foundation for the learning and growth of all participants.  The culture of the organization will provide the best guide to determining what foundation elements must be provided to all program participants regardless of their experience or level in the organization.  Company culture includes the shared values, vision, and mission of the organization. Strong employee onboarding or new employee orientation programs are always founded on the culture of the company in order to help new hires understand the company and more quickly and effectively fit into the norms of the organization.

Similarly, participants in a leadership development program need to have a shared, onboarding experience when embarking on the leadership journey in their company. Designing the early, foundation courses of the leadership development program requires tapping into organizational culture to include principles, shared values and a common language that will be woven into all future courses in the program.  This provides a common thread that becomes the cornerstone or rock solid foundation for the program.  Simply teaching out-of-the-box training courses with no customization lacks this strong foundation that ties the program to organizational culture and strategy

Foundation learning for all participants regardless of their prior leadership experience within the company, or even within other organizations, ensures they understand the purpose for the leadership development program, the goals of the program, and how the program fits into the strategy and vision of the company. The first one or two foundation courses lay the ground work for future elements of the program.  Later, if some participants move into separate learning tracks based on their unique career and leadership strengths or weaknesses, they will always feel a link to the others on the journey because of  the shared principles, values, and common language established in the earliest courses or learning experiences.