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What Level of Leader Should Attend Leadership Development Institutes?

Question

What “level” of leader do you suggest participate in Leadership Development Institutes (LDIs)? Frontline supervisors? Or managers who are somewhat more removed? This question is largely driven by this next one: how many people are too many for these forums to be most effective?

Answer

I believe in being inclusive rather than exclusive. Studer Group recommends that organizations sponsor their own Leadership Development Institutes (two-day leadership development sessions) every 90 days to develop the skills of anyone in a leadership position. LDIs improve individual leadership performance and organizational consistency to hardwire results faster.

In fact, we have organized LDIs for up to 1,200 leaders at a time for organizations that have 13-14,000 staff members. We find if frontline supervisors miss the LDIs, they will end up requiring additional training to ensure success. On the other hand, we have also worked with groups of 50 in smaller hospitals. I also think that when supervisors attend the training, the cultural transformation happens more quickly because they are not dependent on their leader to get them on board.

However, we find it is the work that is done at the LDI (rather than the number of people who attend) that builds a foundation of success. Some questions to think about are: Is the curriculum tied to building competencies for leaders to get the desired results? Is it relevant? Are there pre-work assignments so that the leaders come in prepared for learning? Is post-LDI work assigned to make sure that leaders are hardwiring new behaviors for integration into operations after training? Are specific actions required of different groups of leaders after training?

We have also seen creative LDI Teams divide up the groups depending on the leadership levels so that we could fit the training to their specific needs. The biggest mistake is to assume leaders already have the skills being taught.