Is Your Leadership Development Program ‘Best in Class’?

A new survey released by Harvard Business Publishing (HBP) Corporate Learning, a developer of leadership development solutions for global companies and organizations, reveals that only 7% of organizations feel they have a “best in class” leadership development program. How does your program stack up against the survey’s results?

HBP has announced the results of its State of Leadership Development Survey. The survey examines how learning and development (L&D) teams and businesses managers perceive leadership development. It also found that a perception gap exists between L&D and the rest of the business on the relevance and effectiveness of leadership development programs.

“Although these survey results do not completely surprise us, they do show that when leadership development programs are designed and developed as a strategic priority, aligned to both goals and key challenges, businesses have a better chance at growth,” said Ray Carvey, executive vice president of corporate learning and international at HBP. “While it’s easy to read this report as L&D teams are consistently being overlooked, or not doing a great job interpreting and responding to the needs of the business, there is a big silver lining here: leadership development programs, when they work, absolutely have an impact on business success. L&D teams must embrace new ways of aligning with the business, demonstrating relevance, and proving impact not only to change the perception of leadership development in their organizations but also to better prepare their businesses for future growth.”

Top Survey Findings

  • The state of leadership development. For a majority of organizations, leadership development is still not considered a “business critical” investment. Many programs are missing the mark when it comes to relevance and innovation. Top barriers to success include time constraints, lack of funding, and defendable return on investment (ROI).
    • “Best in class” programs represent only 7% of organizations surveyed, and can be found in large public organizations with more than 10,000 employees in the aerospace, pharmaceutical, and consumer goods industries.
    • Even among “best in class” programs, 40% of respondents feel that leadership development is only important—not fundamental—to business strategy.
    • Three-quarters of respondents believe leadership development needs to be more innovative in their learning techniques.
    • L&D professionals are responding to the changes in learner demographics and will increase their use of e-Learning (50%), on-demand (50%), and freeware (53%) in the next 3 years.
    • Demonstrating integrity (77%) and managing complexity (75%) were the highest rated critical capabilities for leadership, though end users are less convinced that current programs are developing these capabilities enough.


In tomorrow’s Advisor, we’ll reveal more of the survey’s findings.