10 Questions to Improve the Results of Your Global Leadership Development Program

With a global talent shortage now a reality, more companies are investing in leadership development to help build the capabilities of the organization while simultaneously boosting engagement and retention of top talent who want and expect continuous career development.   

To ensure results that can be measured in terms of bottom line impact, here are 10 questions that can make a difference.

1) Does the program align to the company's global business strategy?  Before planning content, consider the needs of the business now and in the future. In addition to skills, what mindset will employees need to engage with the direction of the company?  By tying your leadership development program to strategy, you're building bench strength and boosting careers.

2) Does the program provide an exciting business challenge?  Studies show that employees are more motivated by a meaningful challenge than money, benefits or even great colleagues.  A collaborative, creative learning environment sets the stage for breakthroughs and/or innovation that eliminates global obstacles and speeds results.

3) Is the program recognized and supported by senior leaders on every continent?  When leadership development is supported actively and visibly by senior leaders across the globe, it becomes a high priority throughout the organization. Support can be shown in many ways, from making development a strategic priority to executive sponsorship of individual program cohorts.

4) How will you ensure that participants understand the link between the program and business strategy?  Various methods work well, including having C-suite presenters; posting the strategy in the classroom and having the participants identify the connection between what they learn each day and the business results desired;  or creating individual learning goals that tie program content to individual development plans that cascade from strategy.  Linking learning to business strategy assures participants that their time is being well-spent, and that learning is not time away from their jobs, but time invested in a better present and future for their jobs.

5) How does participation in the program help the careers of the participants?  Development programs represent a significant investment of time and effort for the participants.  While promotions are usually not promised, showing the connection between program outcomes and both short and long-term career opportunities can deepen the commitment that produces measurable results.

6) How does the program support personal growth?  Today's global leaders have to be more than skilled; they also need to be self-aware, authentic, adaptive, intuitive and mindful.  Development programs provide the perfect forum to explore these concepts generally, although individual coaching is often necessary for mastery.

7) Does the program respect both classroom and personal time?  No one has enough time today; especially leaders.  Elements that take participants away from their families during evenings and/or weekends should be considered carefully to ensure they add significant value that justifies the request.  If your program is virtual and involves multiple time zones, plan carefully to ensure that the burden of early mornings and late nights doesn't fall on any one group of participants.

8) Is the program globally scalable? Too often, global programs have the mindset, pace and style of the company headquarters, which can be alienating in different geographies.  Review your program for content, language and examples that may need to be revised in different parts of the world.   Consider the culture not only of the countries in which the program will be presented, but also the culture of your company in each region.  

9) Does the program have a Global Engagement Leader? Global programs gain traction faster and more easily when the facilitation team is consistent in its approach. Having an Engagement Lead who trains each facilitator and stays in touch with business unit leaders ensures that participant experience is comparable in each cohort.  It also provides a touchpoint for any program changes, as well as the equal dissemination of information.

10) How will the participants' networks expand?  While contact in the classroom creates lasting connections, both companies and participants are well-served by welcoming graduates into a global learning community. These communities can provide excellent forums for collaboration and problem-solving since participants share a common language of tools and skills. They also provide another path for career development as community members learn one another’s strengths and talents.

Global learning development programs can improve your company's retention of top talent as well as its bottom line and industry impact.   Whether face-to-face or virtual, development programs ensure that your company's most competitive resource—people—are ready, able and eager to embrace whatever challenges market forces bring.


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