Once you identify skill gaps within your organization, you will need a system for teaching the appropriate skills and closing the gaps. If you’ve read Hardwiring Excellence, it is clear that one solution is to conduct Leadership Development Institutes, or LDIs. The purpose of LDIs is to develop leaders‘ skills in order to enable the achievement of organizational goals, as well as improve individual leadership performance.

LDIs are skill development sessions that are held three or four times a year. During these sessions, the entire leadership team comes together for two days of intense training. These sessions focus exclusively on the skills identified as needing improvement to meet organizational goals.

Conducting a Leadership Development Institute

We recommend that leadership teams do the legwork of the LDIs. Following are some functions for teams to consider:

  • Curriculum: Design the content of each training session to fulfill the learning objectives set fourth by the senior leadership team. Because the learning objectives of an LDI are so closely aligned to organizational outcomes, people who serve as content designers remain very aware of what is happening in the organization.
  • Communication: Develop and cascade key information about the LDI to leaders, teachers, and staff. Be sure that you inform everyone about any actions for pre- and post-LDI.
  • Social: Energize the sessions and make sure people have fun. For example: One LDI we hosted had a “ship” theme to help participants focus on the “voyage they were undertaking, the calm and rocky water they may encounter, and the need for all the leaders to steer together throughout the process.” The analogy was a very effective way to enhance the learning that took place.
  • Logistics: Make sure parking, food, audiovisual components, and room setup are in place for the session.
  • Linkage: Coordinate the learning that needs to occur between LDIs, and ensure that follow-up and validation occur.



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