It's Time to Evaluate Your Leadership Development Program

Measuring individual success and the impact to the organization is critical.

Thomas Barwick | Getty Images

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

As an HR executive, Sarah realizes her company must review and identify opportunities to ensure the leadership development programs in place address the needs of her company today and tomorrow.

Ensuring that current and emerging leaders are engaged, have the right skills and their development aligns with company strategy and objectives, have become Sarah's most important HR goals. That's no surprise considering a November 2016 Society for Human Resource Management survey found that most HR professionals and employees feel leadership development has a large impact on individual performance but not on organizational performance.

But the efficacy of leadership development programs must be measured on both individual success and the impact to division and organizational goals. Whether the leadership development program is already in place or in the process of being created, here's how to ensure the program meets everyone's goals:

Related: How Businesses Need to Change Their Leadership Style in a Tumultuous World

Identify the program objectives.

The first step in creating a leadership development program that achieves both individual and company-wide goals is identifying the reason behind the program. To do that, answer the following questions:

  • What is driving this investment? Maybe it's new organizational goals, increasing retention or improving succession planning. Whatever the case, identifying the reason for the program is the first step in achieving that vision.
  • How is success being identified? In most cases, success is measured, not assumed. Set measurable goals to determine whether the leadership development program is truly successful.
  • What is the scope of the program (e.g. VP and C-level, manager and up, etc.)? In other words, who the program is targeting and why?
  • What type of development (e.g. classroom, coaching, hybrid programs, etc.) should we use? Last, but certainly not least, identify what program structure is going to best achieve these goals.

Align division goals with company objectives.

Effective leadership programs must be directly aligned with business strategy and goals. Start by identifying existing leadership abilities, the potential for employees to rise into leadership positions, company goals and the gaps that exist between current skills and those needed to succeed.

For example, if a company goal is to increase annual revenue by 15 percent, different divisions can identify how they contribute to this objective. For the sales team, it may be a matter of challenging employees to increase their individual sales quotas. For the product development team, this may involve re-engaging engineers with the bigger picture in order to inspire innovation.

Related: 4 Ways Your Leadership Development is Failing Managers

Start with the larger goal, determine the appropriate metrics for division leaders, and identify the new behaviors and skills that need to be developed.

Make company goals personal.

Make sure leaders are not only frequently communicating personal goals and expectations, but also having the same type of conversations regarding organizational goals.

Remember, people want to have a conversation with their managers and understand how their hard work results in company success. When it comes to both male and female leaders, my company, Skyline Group International, recently found found employees want someone with poise and authenticity. The conversations that managers have with their people create connection and authentic relationships.

Encourage feedback and open conversations with employees around organizational goals. Not only does this put the big picture front and center, but also it helps them better identify how to align their skills and development goals with the overall company objective.

Guide managers to incorporate organizational goals into every update disseminated, whether in monthly emails or weekly wrap-up meetings.

Reinforce leadership development.

Making leadership development stick requires reinforcing what has been learned in daily operations. Guide managers to use one-on-one meetings to further leadership development and help managers put their newly-learned skills to work.

Related: If Your Potential Managers Don't Have These 7 Skills, Don't Promote Them

Start planning meetings the day following leadership development sessions. Ask employees to discuss what they've learned and how everyone can work on implementing those strategies to hit organizational goals.

Sometimes, leadership programs are held outside of the office. While the information is still fresh in their mind, provide opportunities to apply the learning immediately to the work environment.

Thuy Sindell and Milo Sindell

Principals of Skyline Group International

The Sindells are principals in Skyline Group International, Inc., Skyline Group is the leading provider of scalable leadership solutions with a foundation built upon decades of executive coaching with some of the most recognized companies in the world. Skyline is revolutionizing the leadership development industry with the C4X coaching platform. C4X is the only coaching solution that gives you the ability to develop all leaders consistently and systematically from onboarding to executive development. C4X combines a flexible and mobile technology platform (integrated assessment, personalized content, metrics, and coach management system) with the impact and connection of 1:1 coaching. Learn more at and

Related Topics

Editor's Pick

Everyone Wants to Get Close to Their Favorite Artist. Here's the Technology Making It a Reality — But Better.
The Highest-Paid, Highest-Profile People in Every Field Know This Communication Strategy
After Early Rejection From Publishers, This Author Self-Published Her Book and Sold More Than 500,000 Copies. Here's How She Did It.
Having Trouble Speaking Up in Meetings? Try This Strategy.
He Names Brands for Amazon, Meta and Forever 21, and Says This Is the Big Blank Space in the Naming Game
Business News

I Live on a Cruise Ship for Half of the Year. Look Inside My 336-Square-Foot Cabin with Wraparound Balcony.

I live on a cruise ship with my husband, who works on it, for six months out of the year. Life at "home" can be tight. Here's what it's really like living on a cruise ship.

Business News

These Are the Most and Least Affordable Places to Retire in The U.S.

The Northeast and West Coast are the least affordable, while areas in the Mountain State region tend to be ideal for retirees on a budget.

Thought Leaders

The Collapse of Credit Suisse: A Cautionary Tale of Resistance to Hybrid Work

This cautionary tale serves as a reminder for business leaders to adapt to the changing world of work and prioritize their workforce's needs and preferences.

Business Solutions

Learn to Build a ChatGPT Bot for Only $30

If you want to see what AI can do for your business, grab this course bundle today.

Health & Wellness

5 Essential Steps to Expand Your Vision and Start Living Your Dream Life

It's time to break free from your comfort zone and expand your vision. When you refuse to settle for a mediocre life, you can start building a life you love.

Business Ideas

55 Small Business Ideas To Start Right Now

To start one of these home-based businesses, you don't need a lot of funding -- just energy, passion and the drive to succeed.