In a time of significant change, a company’s executive team acknowledged a critical need to ensure strong leadership for the future. They committed to a plan to lay the foundation for a new performance culture and new ranks of promising leaders. The result in six months was a group of leaders ready to advance into senior leadership roles, 25% of whom were promoted immediately.
The development of a leadership framework to articulate and clarify desired competencies identified six priority areas of development for the company, four of which involved leadership. JMW was hired because of a track record for impacting people’s behaviors and approaches to their day-to-day work as leaders. The distinction made by the executives who selected JMW was expressed as a need to shift the way people act and behave, which they saw as a key JMW area of expertise, versus having participants “learning about leadership” in a more theoretical, less actionable way.
In the context of a larger “talent agenda” put in place by the organization, the company identified a group of managers with the potential and aspiration to advance into senior leadership roles. These 24 individuals were enrolled in a Breakthrough Leadership Program designed by JMW to help build the company’s talent pipeline.
The Breakthrough Leadership Program was an intervention that focused on developing leadership behaviors and capabilities, as well as making a dramatic impact with learnings that would “live in the job.” In other words, the principles and approaches covered in the program would have direct relevance to the leaders’ real-time challenges and objectives and translate to tools and skills they could begin to implement immediately.
The curriculum consisted of 3 four-day sessions over six months, with one-on-one coaching during and after sessions. Each participant also committed to and pursued a “breakthrough project” focused on objectives relevant to their day-to-day responsibilities and overarching commitments, reinforcing the program’s “learning in action” approach.
A survey of participants showed that the vast majority rated their readiness for promotion in the organization as “high” or “extremely high.” Overwhelmingly, they reported:
In keeping with the objectives of the program, several participants’ breakthrough projects succeeded in delivering results beyond incremental improvement. For example:
A Step Change in Perspective
The leadership development effort proved to be leverage for a step change in approach and performance.
I am fundamentally in the same role, but I do believe I am making a greater contribution and am better placed within my team to take on new roles and challenges.
A New Leadership Pipeline
The executive team’s objective of securing new leadership talent for the future was achieved.
The success of the effort led the company to invest in subsequent Breakthrough Leadership Programs for managers with the potential and aspiration to advance into senior leadership roles.