Strong leaders help carry a business toward success by reducing turnover and boosting profits. Poor leaders? Not so much. In fact, bad managers cost businesses billions of dollars annually. This is why executive development is oh-so important in businesses of all sizes.

As a business owner, ongoing executive development strategies are important for you and any managers you may have. It’s also important to get employees involved. Read on to learn how to come up with an executive development program. 

What is executive development? 

In business, executive development is the process of growing executive leaders’ professional skills. Generally, an executive leadership development program is an ongoing training and education strategy that focuses mainly on growing soft skills. 

When you hear “executive development program,” you might picture big corporations. But, businesses of all sizes can and do benefit from these types of training programs for businesses. Why? Because all businesses have leaders, even if you’re a one-woman or one-man show. 

Long story short, executive development can help you—and other business leaders—stay up-to-date with what employees need from managers.

3 Steps to create your executive development plan

Do you see the value in creating an executive development game plan? Then answer these questions to help you develop your executive leadership training program. 

executive development: 3 questions to ask

Who is it for?

You might be wondering who an executive development program is for. Determining which positions you think would benefit from executive development is a key first step in creating your plan.

Many businesses reserve executive development for their C-suite, which includes positions such as: 

  • Chief executive officer (CEO)
  • Chief financial officer (CFO)
  • Chief operating officer (COO)

Don’t have a C-suite? No problem. An executive development program benefits any employee in a leadership role, such as managers and directors. Not to mention, business owners also benefit from ongoing executive development. 

And if you think executive development is reserved for only leaders, you may want to think again. Involving your employees can help you effectively grow future business leaders and ensure your entire team is on the same page. 

What skills will you learn? 

After you decide who your executive development plan is for, consider what skills you and your team would benefit from learning.  

Leaders want to improve employee engagement levels and reduce turnover rates. As a result, one of the main focuses of executive development is growing leaders who help keep retention high and disengagement low.  

Executive development strategies can help improve the following types of leadership skills:

  • Coaching 
  • Team building
  • Communication
  • Strategy

So, what do these leadership skills have to do with engagement and retention?

Businesses that want to improve employee engagement listen to employees, acknowledge workers, and set up team-building activities to encourage camaraderie. 

Organizations that want to decrease high turnover rates can work toward boosting employee engagement. And if you want lower turnover rates, avoid common management-level mistakes like micromanaging.  

Through executive development, you and your managers can learn the necessary skills to be effective leaders. And if you extend executive development to all employees, your entire team can learn how to be effective leaders. Not to mention, it might give employees a morale boost, too. 

How will you deliver it?

Last but not least, think about how you’ll deliver an executive development program. Do you and employees want to receive information from an instructor? Online course? Conference?

According to one study, 74% of organizations get their leadership training from instructors. And, 63% use executive coaching. If you prefer to go virtual (particularly during the COVID-19 era), there are a number of online executive development programs available.

Whatever platform you use to obtain executive development training, make sure it’s tailored to your business.  

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