How Do You Design a Leadership Development Program?

That's a great question from a first year MBA student with the chance to give some input to the program. Leave your ideas and comments on that post.

  • I’ve got a suggestion for a starting point. Go out and discover the reasons why (as you write) “So many MBA programs fall flat on their faces when it comes to leadership.” Then, don’t do that!

    I’ll bet you find your school is already headed down the path of failure.

  • Eric

    Here’s my two cents.

    I wouldn’t spend much time worrying over the difference between management and leadership.

    My suggestion splits the program into three tiers.

    Tier 1: Move all the course work for core and elective courses to an online, self-study mode. Extended the cirriculum beyond business to a broad range of subjects that have leadership lessons. Two examples of the kind of non-business books I am talking about include “Chasing Daylight” by Gene O’Kelly and “Deep Survival — Who lives, who dies, and why” by Lawrence Gonzales.

    Basically the students would get a reading list, they’d go read, then take online tests. The time saved from doing course work self-study allows for tiers 2 & 3.

    Tier 2: Invite a cross section of leaders (one a week) from all walks of life to share their take on leadership through a town hall, two-way lecture series. Again, perhaps you might use online feedback componets to allow administrators to discuss/evaluate what each student took away from these lectures

    Tier 3: Make arrangements with local non-profits that would benefit from an influx of MBA talent and loan out students for semester long projects that put them in positions where they are responsible for getting results. Grades could be based on progress reports and an end of semester presentation.

    Like a previous post said, what the student will gain from the experience of trying to put their leadership skills in action, regardless of the success or failure of the project, will be worth several times the effort they’ll put into the project, the lectures, and the course work.