Considerations for embarking on a Management Development Programme
Decide up front – is this programme about the provision of individual development or about the organisational goal/goals or indeed both? Defining the objective of the development can help to focus what the desired outcome of the learning needs to be. This can inform the design and the delivery of the programme and certainly helps the provider to make links within and throughout the content that are meaningful to the participants. Whilst this sounds obvious, absolute clarity on this is essential
Involve the Senior Management Team at the outset Whilst managers may perceive a development programme as something ‘happening’ to their Direct Reports, it is essential that the Senior Team are part of the process – fully briefed about the format, expectations and objectives of the programme and ready to field enquiries or new styles of behaviour/attitude from their team members. Participants will have expectations of their managers during the process and it is vital that the SMT has the knowledge to help them.
Create some sort of Assessment criteria for inclusion on the programme This can be a contentious subject – yes, avoid elitism - however, create development path aspirations and inspire individuals to be creative and innovative in their desire for progression. This can give those unsuccessful this time around the opportunity to ‘hone’ their assessment skills for the next planned programme. The message from the business is one of serious selection and investment if the process is clear and fair, thus adding value to development as a whole.
Clearly define the Roles and Responsibilities of the participant group We have found that some managers are not operating at an expected level precisely because they are not absolutely clear what is within and not within their managerial remit. Defining clearly what the roles and responsibilities are at the start of the programme can set the necessary boundaries for ownership, deployment and growth.
Ensure there is clarity around how the learning will be applied and measurement to ensure that it has As part of the initial objective setting of the programme, it is important for each participant to have pre/in-programme/post discussions with their line manager to ensure there is the opportunity to deploy the news skills, knowledge and behaviour. In Kirkpatrick terms, Thales will be responsible for Level 1 and 2 of evaluation, and will work with the management team to determine how Levels 3 and 4 can be achieved. 360 degree assessment tools can be used ahead of, and on completion of programmes to measure progress along with other organisationally led measurements and processes.
Development programmes are part of the process – not the panacea to performance management and progress, of prime importance is what happens after the programme is complete It can seem appropriate for an organisation to believe that because a management development programme is in place, the growth will just ‘happen’. This is not the case, context set ahead of programmes, actions taken as a result of programmes, how participants are selected and how they are encouraged to drive the business on completion of programme is an essential part of the process. Those not on the programme have significant responsibilities too, particularly line managers.
Ensure programmes have a good variety and mix of intervention styles Face to face engagement within a development programme is both usual and appropriate. If the programme relies on this intervention solely, the format can potentially become predictable and less learning could take place as a result of disengagement. Ensure that different people are part of the delivery team, include Forum Theatre in some of the modules for example, encourage Action Learning Sets, build in one to one coaching as part of the programme, provide self directed learning opportunities via web links/reading etc., hold one or more of the sessions via WebEx or similar to facilitate differing geographical locations and reduce travel costs. In essence, keep things moving to appeal to individual curiosities and learning preferences.
Above all, be brave and change the requirements as the process evolves if necessary Needs change, business strategies change, organisational demands change, and programme content too can and needs to change in response to new knowledge as part of the evolutionary nature of learning. Ensure your partner supplier is willing to flex with the needs of the organisation and the participants as the business demands. This is your programme after all!
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