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Leadership Foundation Programme (LFP) Delegates Graduate

Creating a bespoke six month learning vehicle to develop core leadership skills, maximise engagement and support succession planning. A group of managers from a leading Luxury Sector Company have recently completed a six month Leadership Foundation Programme focussed on developing their leadership and people management abilities. The programme, designed and delivered by Bluebrick Consulting to meet the specific needs of the client organisation, has three main elements to it:

  • 6 x one and a half day classroom-based modules focussed on a particular leadership topic
  • out-of-classroom activities to expose delegates to new experiences and ways of thinking
  • work assignments between modules to help the transfer of learning to the workplace

The programme is designed for middle managers who are both high performing and high potential. The programme works on the philosophy that business success depends on excellent leadership and strong people management skills. The programme enables delegates to receive structured learning support on how they lead and manage teams and also provides an opportunity for managers from different business lines to swap and share experiences and build relationships. “Going on a programme like this is really motivational.” says one of the delegates. “It’s not just the content of the programme and the people that you meet but the fact that my company rates me highly enough to invest in my development in this way is really motivating to me”. Such is the success of this programme it has been run several times and continues to be a core learning intervention for the client’s middle management population. The content is continually refreshed and adjusted to reflect the changing needs of the Company, the delegate groups that have attended and changing attitudes and perceived wisdom in the Leadership arena.

Classroom based modules

Topics covered during the classroom based modules include:

  • Leadership Styles and Models
  • Coaching Skills
  • Managing in Changing Times
  • Communication and Relationship Management
  • Creativity and Innovation
  • Managing Self and Stakeholder Management

The modules have a workshop “feel” to them and are highly interactive with group exercises, skills practices, presentations and case study exploration. “Learning needs to be fun.” says facilitator Carrie FitzGerald. “Delegates engage more fully with the material if they are having a good time and are more likely to retain the key learnings if the material is covered in a challenging, stimulating way.” Delegates also carry out a personality assessment tool and receive feedback on their preferred ways of working and the implications this has for their leadership style. “Developing a better understanding of ourselves enables us to manage our relationships at work more effectively.” says Carrie.

Out-of Classroom Activities

The out-of classroom activities make this programme quite different from many standard management development programmes. They provide an innovative vehicle for learning to take place. The out-of-classroom activities are carefully designed with several objectives in mind: firstly, relationship building within the delegate group. Rapport building is a fundamental pillar of effective leadership and so the programme provides opportunities for delegates to practice their rapport building skills whilst undertaking a group activity which is slightly out of their comfort zone. The activities enable the group to have a shared reference experience and help to create a strong bond between the group. Secondly, the out-of-classroom activities provide exposure to a (probably) new experience that is relevant to the topic covered in the classroom and thus provide “common ground” material for the group to work on. Social activities on this programme have included Salsa Dancing, Aikeido, Mural Painting based on company themes, Shakespeare’s Leadership roles, Champagne Tasting, African Drumming and Cooking Challenge.


Work Assignments

The work assignments between the modules allow time to reflect on the material covered in the classroom and assist delegates in putting their action points into practice. The assignments also help the delegates to prepare for the forthcoming module so that the subject has been thought through beforehand. The work assignments are practical but also fun and draw on other resources to look at leadership subjects from a new perspective. Delegates are asked to watch selected films and read management books to prepare for particular topics. Transferability is a key challenge for any L&D intervention and these work assignments help enormously with retention and transfer of material. Delegates are also asked to report back on what they have been doing differently since the last module at the start of each module. The final module culminates with delegates giving individual presentations to Company Directors on how the material and the experience of the programme have enabled them to be more effective in their roles. The presentations provide an opportunity for the delegates to show what they have learned and how the programme has helped them. “It was a pretty nail-biting experience,” said one of the delegates, “but in the event I really enjoyed it. It made me evaluate my experience during the last six months and it gave me exposure to Directors that I hadn’t met before which was really valuable.” As well as providing new material for managers to think about and experience, a key element of this programme is concerned with giving managers the time to reflect on their performance. What they have done well, not so well and what they need to do differently is a critical way to improve performance and productivity. Managers in the current climate are so busy being busy that they rarely have sufficient time to think about and plan how they can be more effective. This programme seeks to support this review process and the 6 month modular format works really well in achieving this. “We are very proud to be working with our client on this programme. It is a well structured, stretching programme and challenges managers to think differently about what they are currently doing and how they can improve their performance. It is a big commitment for managers to attend something like this but everyone who has graduated has found it hugely beneficial from both a professional and personal development perspective.” says Carrie. The programme looks at different theories and models of leadership and encourages managers to think about the implications for how they choose to lead and manage their teams. There is no “right” formula to leadership – ultimately leaders have to find their own style and approach that fits their situation. This programme is designed to support managers in finding their own style and approach to make them better at what they are doing so that people want to be led by them. Excellent Leadership is a fundamental objective for successful organisations and this programme is designed to help our client develop excellent leaders.