An international retail company is in the midst of a transition to new combinations of physical and web shops. The whole sector is under pressure and in a state of flux and this organisation is no exception. Management sees the continuous development of its own employees as an important key to finding innovative solutions and maintaining its strong market position. So each year, they select 15 to 20 leaders who they think have the capacity to take the company a step further. These high-potentials are typically 30 to 40 years old and most of them have already participated in two or three personal development programmes.
For many years now, we have been designing and facilitating the leadership programme for these groups, which is aimed at ensuring that they grow in leadership and take on more responsibility in their work. The starting point for management and HR is to create a distinctive programme with measurable, sustainable impact. And that the workplace is used as the most important place for learning: that's where it happens.
The leadership programme is based on the metaphor of the 'hero's journey', the archetypal story of personal growth and development. In each phase, we present participants with a challenging assignment: a 'test'. We provide support in their work and in the form of content-based workshops. For example, as a first challenge, participants work on a short, in-depth personal profile. They can draw inspiration and nourishment from (engineered) on-the-job encounters that we set up with others, from reflective assignments and by taking a personal journey back to a place from their childhood years. As soon as they have their own profile and ambition in focus, they are invited to try out new and different approaches in their work. That's the second test. A fellow participant 'hacks' a work situation, as it were, and makes room in an existing meeting, bila or work meeting for the participant to start experimenting on the spot. Each test is followed by a new challenge, providing new room to grow for participants. The tests build up in terms of impact on the organisation.
The learning journey focuses on personal development that provides a solid base for future years, but can also immediately be put into practice. In addition, participants build a network of colleagues in the organisation who act as sparring partners. This relational network forms a context in which it is attractive to try out and reflect on new actions. Even after the programme ends.
A study into the impact of the programme showed that the vast majority of participants acted more effectively in various relevant work situations. This enables them to positively influence the development of the organisation.
The leadership programme also contributes to a positive and constructive learning culture, which in itself now also forms a basis for the success of the organisation. This is caused by the playful and challenging forms we use, and because there are so many people involved. In addition to the 15-20 participants, there are also about 50 to 70 colleagues each year who participate in one way or another - for example, by participating in a part or by participating in an experiment in the work.