How to Create an Effective Leadership Development Plan

Person writing a plan

Every company has goals for the future, but some companies are more effective than others at accomplishing their goals. What separates a successful company from the rest?

The secret lies in creating a leadership development plan that serves as a roadmap for your company’s emerging leaders. This, in turn, allows productive steps toward success like goal-setting, allotting resources, following action plans, and retaining key leaders who inspire everyone to accomplish great things.

Here’s how to create and implement an effective leadership development program for your organization.

Why Is Leadership Development Important?

Today’s sophisticated leadership development programs are designed to build a richer and deeper talent pipeline. As a result, organizations can leverage their talent pools to create more sustainable success. Organizations with higher leadership maturity rates are nearly 11 times more likely to have a high percentage of talent builders. Developing leadership skills in organizations can increase the retention rate of talented employees and decrease turnover.

Download the whitepaper Identify and Develop High Potential Leaders of your Organization

Begin with the Right Frame of Mind

Before you begin a new leadership development plan, take the time to prepare for this new stage in your company’s lifecycle. Observe your company from a neutral point of view and spend some time thinking about how things are vs. how they should be.

Cultivate an open state of mind through self-care and self-reflection. Encourage your entire organization to remain open to growth and change, from the executives to the lower level employees on the front lines.

Consider leadership development assessment questions like:

  • Do your existing and developing leaders share a growth mindset?
  • Is there a clear plan for the future at your company?
  • What are your company’s goals, and are they realistic?
  • Will your company culture accept or reject dramatic change?
  • Do you have the people, resources, time, and structure to grow rapidly?
  • How could this organization benefit from leadership development?
  • Do you need a business consultant/leadership coach to guide you?

Asking these questions is a huge and important first step. However, the next stage is even more challenging: Sparking meaningful, long-lasting change within your organization.

Engage with a Business Strategy Consultant

Most companies find it difficult to evolve without the help of a business strategy consultant. Talented, experienced business consultants think strategically and teach leaders how to expand the skills it takes for the entire operation to embrace change and seize new opportunities.

Schedule a series of business consulting sessions that will allow you to get to know your leadership coach and understand their process. Ask questions to ensure there’s a good coach-team match between your consultant and your company.

How your consultant engages with your company will depend on your needs, current status, goals, and more. Your consultant can help you achieve essential strategic leadership activities like:

  • Creating an entirely new business/leadership plan from scratch
  • Revising an existing business plan to make it more effective
  • Developing exceptional leaders within your ranks
  • Building a solid hiring/retention plan
  • Inspiring your workforce and building company morale
  • Using leadership to survive tough periods like mergers and financial downturns
  • Managing growth during periods of rapid expansion
  • Creating leadership succession plans and planning strategically for the future

Set Goals and Measures of Success

Now it’s time to decide what leadership development success looks like for your organization. It’s exciting to see success on the horizon, but how will you get there? 

Work with your leadership coach to decide which measures and metrics you’ll use to track your success. Establish your current status and create benchmarks that will help you see your progress as you move forward toward your goals.

Smart goal-setting is typically one of the most challenging aspects of creating an effective leadership plan. For example, you might have aggressive sales goals for the end of the year, but there’s high turnover among your sales and marketing leaders. A smart goal will consider all contributing factors to ensure that the goal is achievable.

Another common challenge is a lack of emotionally intelligent leadership, which hampers a company’s ability to adapt and grow. Leaders with high emotional intelligence (EQ) can manage interpersonal interactions smoothly and productively. But a company with too many low-EQ leaders often has conflicts that interfere with productivity.

Emotionally Intelligent Leaders White paper - Download

A good business strategy consultant helps you get to the bottom of issues like these and understand what’s at the core of your company’s persistent roadblocks. Perhaps you need to refine your company’s leadership development programs and implement new strategies that support growth and success.

Launching Your Effective Leadership Development Program

The best leadership development plan in the world won’t work unless you implement your plan effectively. Your team needs the leadership skills and resources it takes to move forward with confidence. 

For a meaningful, lasting impact on your organization, experts recommend ongoing leadership development programs as opposed to one-off training programs. At Leadership Resources, we have a long history of providing robust and customized leadership development programs for thousands of successful companies around the world.

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