What is a Leadership Development Plan?

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A Leadership Development Plan is intended to help an individual or an organization establish a course for forward movement.  It usually begins with the statement of a goal and then sets forth a series of steps that must be taken in order to achieve that goal.  In addition to listing the steps that should be taken in order to meet the states goal or goals, the plan may include a timeline to help motivate the individual or organization towards meeting deadlines or hoped-for milestones.  

A common template for a Leadership Development Plan often involves construction of a table -- easy to do in the age of Excel spreadsheets and similar online tools -- with multiple columns.  The first column would list the goals the individual or organization hopes to achieve, followed by successive columns reflecting actions to be taken, the dates by which those actions should have been taken, and the results of those actions or any other feedback that might necessitate a revision of the plan.  For example, a leadership training program might indicate that the goal is unattainable or that the individual has determined that a change of course is warranted on the basis of changed circumstances.  Changes in the business environment in which one hopes to operate could require a reassessment of goals and/or timelines, in which case the plan would be revised to reflect these changes.

A Leadership Development Plan is a tool to help one achieve goals.  As one scholar on the subject of leadership noted, a 1976 Harvard study demonstrated that graduating seniors who had developed such plans or "vision statements" -- and only 3 percent did produce such a plan or statement -- proved far more successful than the 97 percent who did not produce such a plan or statement. [See http://tinyurl.com/kajvjot].  The template is relatively simple, and examples can be found in the "ctb.ku" link below.

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