Leadership development plans that work

August 2, 2017 by Wally Bock

If you’re like me, you’ve seen far too many development plans wind up as all plan and no development. That’s why I loved Julie Winkle Giulioni’s marvelous post: “How To Demand More Of Development Plans.” Here’s the money quote:

“In most organizations, individual development planning is one of the most simultaneously stressful and disappointing annual rituals we practice. Overwhelmed leaders must engage in what should be a deep, thoughtful, and forward-looking dialogue – frequently with all of their employees, in a compressed timeframe, all while reviewing twelve months’ worth of performance. Employees rarely feel that they’ve gotten the attention they need and deserve. And after all that, plans are generally packed away (like holiday decorations) until next year.”

The post is filled with good advice, so be sure to click through and read the whole thing. I want to zero in the action steps. Let’s think about what you should do to turn those leadership development plans into reality.

Leadership development is a verb

If nothing happens, what’s the point? There are two people who must act if leadership development is going to happen.

Leadership development is the aspiring leader’s responsibility, but …

The aspiring leader must take responsibility. But, if that leader’s development is important to your company, his or her boss should be responsible, too. Together the aspiring leader and his or her boss need to do three things.

Agree on what the aspiring leader will do. I prefer to have an “every” in this statement, like “every day” or “every week.” We’re talking behavior. If it’s not observable from outside, it’s not behavior and it doesn’t count.

Make the boss the aspiring leader’s accountability partner. How will the aspiring leader report on activity? How will the boss follow-up on the behavior?

Set a review date to determine how things are going. Guess what? You will almost certainly need to modify something. I suggest a review every thirty days for the first four months. Before you stand up and dust off your hands like you’re done, set up review meetings and put them on the calendar.

Wally Bock is a coach, a writer and President of Three Star Leadership.

Posted in Leadership Development

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