February 9, 2022

If you’re investing time, budget and energy into leadership and team development, you want to know that it’s delivering the results your business needs.

But we also know that making a clear link between your development programme and the bottom-line can be hard. Our go-to when tackling these complex challenges is to take a step back and look at the big picture.

“Without a clear, compelling reason for development, the programme can easily become ‘just’ another task on an already overloaded to-do list.”

Andy Chevis, LIW head of design and research   


In this blog we’ll share how it is possible to design a leadership development programme with a clear connection between the learning and the desired business impact, without getting lost in the analysis.


Start with the end: what do you want to achieve?   

First things first. As tempting as it is to dive into details like the number of participants, will the programme be delivered virtually or in person. Classroom style, panel discussions and the rest. We ask you to look into the future – what do you want to achieve? What’s your ‘why?’

If you start by defining the business impact you want to achieve, you’ll have a strong foundation to work from. Because then you can work backwards to agree the leadership behaviours that will deliver this change, which in turn helps identify aligned learning objectives that shape the programme design and content. And crucially, it means you can define aligned and meaningful metrics to measure progress against each of these stages.

Business impact measurement: From revenue improvements to innovation metrics and customer satisfaction data

Behaviour measures: Examples include 360° feedback pre & post programme, partner & customer surveys, self-impact surveys

Learning measures: Real work in the room, reaction surveys to check understanding and topic relevance

Programme measures: Reactions surveys for content, programme structure, manager support, peer and network opportunities, engagement and motivation


Eight questions to guide your thinking

We recognise whilst this sounds simple but it isn’t easy, so we devised these eight questions to help guide this initial thinking and conversation. It can be too easy to get stuck in the ‘here and now’. Heads either full of current challenges, unable to get any further than a superficial headline that lacks the detail it needs to be meaningful or measurable. Here is a simple visual summary of the stages and how the eight questions align to support discovery.

“If you’re going to measure business impact, your development programme needs to be designed for impact.”

Andy Chevis, LIW head of design and research   



It’s also worth saying at this point that this pragmatic approach is the same whatever type of organisation or target audience of Leader that you are designing the programme for.



If you take one message from this blog, it’s this. If you’re thinking about designing a leadership or team development programme, take a step back, lift your eyes up out of the day to day and start with the desired business outcomes.

  • Be 100% clear on what it is you want to achieve.
  • Build a development programme that aligns/supports that goal.
  • Put metrics in place to measure your progress against that goal.


Contact and further information    

To find out more about our Design for impact leadership programmes, contact Andy Chevis, our Head of design and research.



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