Building a Leadership Development Program from Scratch

I was presenting at the SHRM conference in Illinois and had a chance to sit in on a presentation by Benjamin McCall.  It was a solid and thought provoking presentation, and my big takeaway was the question How would I build a leadership development program from scratch?

It reminded me how times have changed around doing things from scratch.  A personal example for me is baking.  I grew up thinking everything – pie crusts, cakes, and even muffins were only made from scratch.  While I love to make bread, cinamon roles, and even pancakes from scratch, most of the time it is much easier to get it from a box or a store.  I started my leadership development career thinking the stuff from the box was what needed to happen.  If the name Ken Blanchard, Center for Creative Leadership, Executive MBA, University of Michigan, or Harvard was on the label then it was great.

Then I went to a small company and was asked to build one from scratch, for one person, and with a limited budget.  The other condition was that it had to work because our business growth strategy was depending on the leaders from this program to open the offices in our plan.

What I learned is that there are some core benefits that all participants in these programs takeaway, and it has very little to do with content.  I also learned that the two core benefits, self-awareness and peer communities could be provided even if it is a small company.  trU Tips 21 is coming out next week and I will provide an outline of how I would answer this question.

I still stop when I hear the words Center for Creative Leadership or Ross School of Business or Harvard, but I know now that anyone can make something  really good from scratch.

Finally – the key currency to support this being done well and on your own – time from you and the rest of the leadership team.  That is the magic ingredient.  More to come in trU Tips 21 . . . . . .