How we guided a Fortune 500 pharmaceutical company to transform an ad hoc training and development approach into a strategic leadership development pathway.
Dana, the VP of Learning and Development, was adding content to her Leadership Program and was looking for a two day coaching skills training. Dana was busy and felt confident in our style and content. We didn’t spend the requisite time to understand her company’s culture, and the training was not a resounding success.
Dana inquired about other programs we could deliver. During our discovery phase we realized that their leadership development was a revolving à la carte menu of the latest and greatest books and ideas. In spite of billions of dollars in revenues and thousands of employees, there was no coherent philosophy and methodology for developing their leaders.
Dana and her team needed to craft a leadership development strategy that mirrored and paralleled the corporate strategy. Additional topic-based, ad-hoc training for her managers and leaders would not guarantee improved results. The Learning and Development function had to create a deliberate pathway for developing current, future and high potential leaders.
Planning began with a two-day off-site facilitated meeting to answer two critical questions: 1. what types of leaders do you need running your business five years from now? And 2. what are you doing today to make sure you will have these leaders in place?
With these answers in hand, and through interviews and small group meetings, we created a leadership competency model. Two new objectives emerged: 1. Create a three tiered development pathway for new, established, and seasoned leaders, and 2. Articulate a comprehensive curriculum and assessments for each developmental level.
The final step was to sort through the myriad of learning events, workshops and courses, models and processes that were both homegrown and consultant delivered. Guided by our competency model and development pathway, we matched developmental needs with current inventory of offerings. As a result, we uncovered the learning and development gaps and the necessary interventions to fill them.
Results and Value
Dana and her team replaced ad hoc learning events with a strategic development approach. Her team began implementing the new competencies, tools and processes and immediately built up their bench strength with coaching and mentoring.
Leaders in the progressive learning process were developed and assessed against competencies, and have moved into greater leadership roles. A positive yet unexpected result was that morale, engagement and innovation improved with their new knowledge, tools and processes. Leaders, now systematically developed, were able to coach and develop direct reports, communicate the mission and vision and move forward with implementing the vision and mission of the company.