LetMeShip develops leadership training concept for middle management – Part 3

In the final part of the blog series, we will look at the selection process for training providers, the use of different learning formats and the frequency of our trainings.

We also discuss the importance of evaluating the effectiveness of leadership training and how we use feedback to improve our modules. Finally, we present the results and findings of our process so far and explain the next steps we have planned for the Leadership Development Program.

Selection of training providers for the identified modules

When selecting providers for our leadership training modules, we use our values and guidelines as the basis for selecting trainers. We ensure that trainers identify with our values and are informed about our policies. Providers are also selected based on their expertise in the particular module we require. To help trainers understand the level of experience of our leaders, they are provided with information from evaluations of past training modules.

For classroom training, we consider several factors when selecting trainers. We check the trainer’s experience and expertise in delivering executive training against their qualifications and track record in different organisations. We also review the methodology and concepts to be used in the training, as well as the materials covered. Personal skills such as communication skills, empathy and flexibility are also important factors when selecting trainers. We also check whether they are up to date with current trends and developments in leadership training and we tailor the training content to the specific needs and challenges of LetMeShip through pre-training consultations.

For online training platforms, functionality is crucial. We ensure that the platform offers all the necessary features for leadership training, such as video and audio conferencing, screen sharing, chat functions, breakout sessions, whiteboards and document sharing. We also ensure that the platform is user-friendly and easy to navigate. The availability and stability of the platform are tested and we ensure that the platform provides comprehensive support and training for trainers and participants.

Utilization of various training formats for diverse experiences

At LetMeShip, we use a variety of learning formats in our leadership trainings. We understand that people have different learning styles and preferences, so we use different formats to ensure that all participants have the opportunity to learn and grow. Some of the formats we use include lectures, group discussions, case studies, role plays and e-learning. By using different formats, we can engage participants and provide them with a more comprehensive learning experience. Each format has its own advantages and benefits

For example, group discussions allow participants to share ideas and opinions with others, while case studies provide a practical, real-life scenario for participants to analyse and learn from. Role plays help participants practice their skills in a safe and controlled environment, while e-learning allows them to learn at their own pace and time. We also use a range of learning formats to support different learning objectives and outcomes. By engaging participants in different ways, we can help them acquire new skills and knowledge and apply them in different contexts.

In addition to using different learning formats, we also integrate ongoing support and sharing formats between training sessions to ensure that participants continue to practice and apply what they have learned. This helps to consolidate learning and promote the sharing of experiences and best practices among participants. Overall, our approach to leadership training at LetMeShip is based on the belief that using a variety of learning formats and ongoing support and sharing formats can help participants develop the skills and knowledge they need to become effective and successful leaders.

Training schedule and frequency of modules

Our training schedule includes 2 modules per semester, each delivered in a training block. We want to ensure that the training frequency is manageable and does not create undue pressure by giving our participants time and space to process and practice what they have learned. In addition, we take into account the daily business and leadership responsibilities of our participants so as not to disrupt their work too much.

To ensure that our training remains relevant and effective, we select the next modules based on the current needs of the organisation and its leaders. This allows us to tailor the content to specific challenges or objectives and ensure that the training is always practical and useful for our participants. Our approach is based on a balance between flexibility and structure, providing a clear guide to our training that also adapts to the changing needs of our organisation and its leaders.

Evaluation and iterative process for module selection

Our approach of selecting training modules is highly iterative and focuses on continuous improvement. After each training, we send participants an evaluation form covering aspects such as preparation, organisation, structure, professionalism, didactics of the trainers and relevance of the content. Participants also have the opportunity to provide feedback and suggestions for improvement. In addition, trainers are surveyed to gain insights into their experience and satisfaction with the training measures. We then compare the results with the training objectives and integrate the findings into the next training module. If there are open topics or participants would like more sharing or input on a particular topic, we integrate these topics into sharing formats and offer additional training or discussions.

We started in March 2023 with the topics “Feedback” and “Staff appraisals”. The kick-off day started with a workshop on guidelines, followed by two days of face-to-face training. From August 2023 to February 2024, we plan to offer the modules “Change” and “Time and Energy Management” as online training with a self-study component and facilitated live sessions through an online training platform called troodi. The identification of the next modules is based on the short-term strategy of the company and the needs analysis of the managers. We aim to offer two modules per six months, each in a training block, with a balance between face-to-face and distance formats. We are careful not to build up too much learning stress, to give participants time to process what they have learned, and to take into account the business and management responsibilities of the managers.

Conclusion & Insights

The development of the values and guidelines was a very challenging and time-consuming process for both managers and staff. Initially, participation in the process was slow and required a lot of motivation and repetition to establish the need for consistent values and guidelines, which was considered important by the middle management. However, the commitment of senior managers was critically questioned, which led to their participation in a series of workshops to internalise the guidelines. Feedback on the values and guidelines was very positive and they are now regularly included as a fundamental tool in strategy presentations and given the necessary attention and importance within the organisation.

The first iteration of the training modules (face-to-face training) received positive feedback from our middle management. However, as this group has different leadership experiences and cultural backgrounds, the need for regular sharing and communication was identified. In response, a Leadership Circle was established, which meets once a month for 1.5 hours and covers different topics either raised by the participants or introduced by People & Relations or external specialists as impulse topics. In addition, an annual offsite meeting for leaders was introduced to maintain communication and facilitate sharing. The process has shown that the development of values and policies as well as training modules requires an iterative approach, informed by regular evaluations and feedback.

Throughout the course of our journey, we have gained valuable insights that have shaped our understanding of implementing a comprehensive leadership development program. Firstly, we have learned that such projects require time – years, not weeks – to truly embed the desired values and behaviors within the organization. Additionally, we have recognized that a strengthened and aligned middle management is the foundation for increased employee satisfaction, focused work, and ultimately, organizational success. It has become evident that promoting transparency from the outset and involving all stakeholders are critical when addressing cultural aspects such as leadership values, ensuring successful implementation. Furthermore, the commitment and leading by example from the senior leadership are indispensable. Without their support, achieving the desired cultural transformation becomes significantly more challenging.

Lastly, we have realized that HR alone cannot shoulder the responsibility for such a project. It requires the unwavering commitment of the management team and, most importantly, the active participation and involvement of all stakeholders. By acknowledging these insights, we are better equipped to navigate the complexities of successfully implementing a leadership development initiative aligned with our company values and driving sustainable growth.