Keys to Successful Leadership Programs

I have run a number of leadership development programs, and led leadership development sessions in business schools across Europe.   These programs get your leaders away from the day to day, and get them thinking about their own development and how they can move their organization forward faster.

Here are two keys to make your next leadership development program even more successful.

Key Number 1 – Reinforce the Do!

Your leaders definitely learn a great deal on these programs, but the impact comes from what your leaders do versus what your leaders learn. These three steps will help to reinforce the DO within your programs.

1. Frequent Reflection

Leaders are learning so much at a fast rate that they cannot translate the “that’s interesting” to “that’s what I will change”.   A great definition of reflection is “the opportunity to give yourself advice”. Provide your leaders more opportunities throughout the program for personal reflection, and with the outcome of each reflection identifying either a changed mindset or creating a new habit.

2. Peer Coaching/Accountability

They say that you really don’t get clear on something until you either have to say it or your write it.   With peer coaching, your leaders get to share what they would like to do with one of their peers, and then ask for ideas on how they can change that mindset or create that new habit faster. It’s not like feedback that can be viewed as a negative. It’s really feed-forward…helping each other improve faster.   Then, add the accountability, with your leaders following up with each other and helping each other honor their own commitments (to the changed mindset or the new habit).

3. Leadership Asking about the Do

Bosses ask for these leadership development programs to be done, and then they never follow-up with the leaders on what their leaders are doing. It’s like, please run this program and “fix my leaders”!

There is an old saying “what you ask about, comes about”.   When the boss is consistently asking their leaders about the mindsets they are changing or the new habits they are creating, the boss is constantly reinforcing these in their leaders’ minds. Also, it’s being reinforced in the boss’s mind too, and he or she can now spot their leaders doing it and reinforce it more often.

Key Number 2 – Share the Learning and Do!

The learning from the leadership development program shouldn’t stop with the leaders attending. It’s important for your leaders to share the key learning with their teams too! It gets everyone adopting a common language about the learning and the change needed, and multiplies the benefits and impact of your leadership development program across the company.

Also, sharing what the leaders are doing different now puts them under more pressure to actually do it. It’s a way of reinforcing the need for your leaders to really change that mindset and implement that new habit to keep their credibility and integrity. It keeps your leaders role modeling Do=Say within their organization.

Remember, the impact from your leadership development programs is DO!