It seems like yesterday that we expanded our offerings at Solutions 21 to our Kansas City market. Almost three years ago we parachuted in and the community has been very responsive to our company.

On February 14, 2015, we kicked off our first ever Kansas City Next Leader Now class with six family-owned business succession candidates. They were looking to be developed in a way that wasn’t necessarily the same cookie-cutter, traditional method that is out there. They wanted something different. They wanted substance. They wanted customization. And they wanted pushed and coached to ensure that they were truly preparing themselves for the next step.

I want to personally thank those six Millennials for trusting in Solutions 21. This was a huge risk for them; registering to participate in a non-complimentary program that was the first of its kind in the area. I looked at each of them as I did my teammates in the huddle when I played. I asked them to trust me. To give me their word that they would give me their very best. And in turn, I promised them that they would be blown away by the results.

I knew that this program would be a success. Solutions 21 has been at the forefront of innovation in the development space for over 22 years. Numerous organizations across the world have trusted us in developing their folks. This, however, was different. This was a new product. This launch meant that family-owned business succession candidates trusted my team to coach them over the next 15 months.

Fifteen months? Yes. Fifteen months. Some may think that allotment of time is arbitrary and unnecessary. Both can be argued. But I’ll tell you this: Fifteen months was not chosen without strategy. The timeline was very well thought out. And, this should go without saying, but in case it doesn’t: Leadership development is not an event. It is an ongoing personal and intimate process and should be treated as such. I bet the majority of you can attest that you didn’t learn calculus or how to ride a bike in a half-day seminar. It is our belief that something as important as leadership should be instilled in the same manner.

I knew that we really hit a homerun with this inaugural group when they all shared feedback on their experience in the program. The reviews were awesome. I can’t lie, it felt good knowing that these emerging leaders were satisfied with the time and money they spent.

Next Leader Now is truly invaluable. You don’t have to take it from me, though. Here’s what one of our emerging leaders in the first ever Kansas City class had to say:

“I wanted to let you know that this program has been unlike anything else I have ever attended. I have been fortunate enough to attend programs all around the country and the binders are collecting dust on my shelf in my office. My experience with Next Leader Now has been a welcomed change! How do we keep this going? How do we continue the work that we started here 15 months ago?”

Most classes have some sort of graduation. You take a test, receive your diploma, and head out into the world with the knowledge you have gained. At Solutions 21, we think after 15 months we are just getting started!

Be part of the movement and register for our ensuing Next Leader Now classes in Kansas City, Phoenix, and Pittsburgh. Invest in developing your emerging leaders’ skills in today’s 21st-century workforce. Take control of your high-potential employees’ development and provide them with the opportunity to become the Next Leader of tomorrow NOW!