The first step in creating a leadership development program for your organization is to determine what skills, knowledge, abilities, and future capabilities individuals will need to successfully fill leadership roles. There has been a lot of research into what leadership competencies are needed in general, but to create a leadership development program that is attuned to the needs of your organization, it is important to determine what your company’s unique needs are. Here are some thoughts to get you started:
- Meet with the executive leaders of the organization for a future-focused brainstorming session that considers the trends in the industry, potential changes in the future to the organization, the community or sites where your company is located, the larger country or countries, the economy, geopolitical forces, technology changes, and other external forces. For those of you who are familiar with strategic planning, this is the external environmental scan.
- After gathering this information in the brainstorming meeting, discuss with the executive leaders what leadership capabilities and competencies will be needed in the future to deal with all these changes and trends. It may be helpful to have an outside consultant facilitate this meeting to keep track of all the thoughts and ideas, help the group to first expand its thinking, and then later help the group focus all the information into a manageable handful of categories, pillars, or focus areas. The result is a list of core (or key) leadership competencies to be developed within the organization.
- These key leadership competencies should then be vetted or validated at other levels within the organization. A focus group of high potential individual contributors, supervisors, managers, and directors (as many levels as are present in the company) is a great idea. Within the focus group, a mini-strategic thinking exercise to review the trends and changes that may occur in the future can be helpful. Then, the key competencies should be shared and discussed with the group, and any suggested additions or changes should be drafted for final review and incorporation into the foundation of the program.
- The next step in the process is to assess where existing leaders (at all levels in the organization from supervisors, to managers, to executives) are in relation to mastering the key leadership competencies that have been identified. I’ll include more about this and flesh out the remaining steps in the next post on this topic. Watch for that in the next week or two. Finally, keep in mind that Leader Discovery is uniquely positions to help small to mid-sized organizations work through this process in order to create a unique leadership development program for your company.