In conversations with bosses of various organizations, from publicly traded to privately held, the effectiveness of leadership development programs is frequently discussed. Specifically, how is your leadership development program positively affecting your organization?

This question is loaded with many possible answers. Some organizations need better decision-making; others need development focused on leader self-awareness or more initiative-driven employees. Some need cultural adjustments, and some need to increase output and performance. With so many challenges, how do you know which leadership development program is right for your company?

The right leadership development program should amplify leadership strengths while uniquely challenging each individual in the program to grow where they have gaps or blind spots. While lots of programs offer this, few have the unique ability to deliver. This systemized approach takes the right content, delivery method, and experienced team members who can meet your team where they are and drive growth. There is a lot packed into that statement; let’s explore it.

The content of the development program should be relatable and valuable for all leaders of your organization, no matter at which level they lead. A program that has a shared theme, science, and objectives with delivery tailored to leaders at all levels can jump-start an organizational leadership development culture.

To do this, the organization must have common focus points, transparency of growth areas, and expected learning objectives to share up and down the leadership roles. If the content drives behavior change along a common growth axis, all leaders in the program have a standard frame to discuss and grow together. “Bolt-on” solutions may be perfect for addressing a particular challenge but may lack the depth of holistic applicability to the entire organization.

When selecting a program and how to deliver it, you should consider your desired outcomes. Development takes time and repetition to generate individual growth and change. I have been part of some short-duration programs that offered leadership tools but lacked the accountability of coaching and subsequent “cohort” meetings. I had the new tool but lacked the follow-up to learn how to master it. I then failed to leverage the new tool to maximize personal performance change.

Additionally, the peer-leadership aspect of the program was missing, so I couldn’t grow through failure with coworkers. A solid delivery plan should include hybrid options (in-person and online) to allow participants to challenge themselves fully. We all learn differently, so programs that offer diverse delivery methods provide an excellent platform for learners of all types to maximize participation and applicability.

Ultimately, the coaching team’s experience level and cultural fit with your organization will be the difference between a good program and a great one. We have all been part of programs where the facilitator or coach failed to meet expectations. Personal style, ability to adapt to your team, experiential knowledge, and mastery of topics are expectations a coach should be able to deliver. The coach should not only provide objective feedback but should also be able to challenge each participant in the unique manner required to drive individual growth.

Solutions 21 has assembled an all-star team of leadership practitioners, original content with proven results, and a diverse delivery platform to provide the ultimate leadership development experience.  Developing your leaders to navigate tomorrow’s challenges is our passion.