An Approach to Discover & Design Leadership Development Solutions

Canvases have become popular modeling tools in business.

It all started with the Business Model Canvas (created by Alex Osterwalder and available for free) but since we’ve seen variations such as the project management canvas, the personal branding canvas, the gamification model canvas, and many more.

There is something about a canvas approach.

It visually brings together all relevant areas of a certain challenge, it’s a great tool to collaborate around as a team, and it offers a reiterative and continuous way of working.

So, we put our brains together at the CCL Labs and created a Leadership Development Canvas. After all, our business is to deliver a custom solution in partnership with our clients.

Making an effective leadership development solution is a complex endeavor: it needs to be embedded in sound research and practice, align with business and stakeholder needs, take into account more constraints than you think you can handle, empathize and relate with the participants, demonstrate individual and collective value, be instructionally sound, offer a blended and preferably personalised learning journey over time, involve a variety of partners, etc.

We brought all these areas together in the Leadership Development Canvas.

Leadership Canvas

Furthermore, we have created a kit with question cards, models and tools to populate each of the areas.

There is no mandatory flow to navigate between the components of the canvas, but a recommended flow is:

  1. Organizational Forces: start with the business context, business strategy, and organizational challenges
  2. Expertise Forces: discuss the research and best practices related to the challenges
  3. Stakeholder Forces: map out the various stakeholders and their needs for this initiative
  4. Value: make concrete what the added value is this initiative will bring to individuals and the organization, and how it will be measured
  5. Leaders: empathize with the participants of the experience and their current situation
  6. Learning: decide on the mindset, toolset, and skillset to equip participating leaders with, and the level of mastery for each
  7. Engagement: formulate why leaders should be engaged for this initiative and discuss how to tap into that engagement
  8. Logistical forces: list the constraints in terms of time, budget, location, availability of key partners, and resources
  9. Investment: discuss the time and budget available and prioritize what to invest in
  10. Partners: connect with the various partners that together will deliver the initiative
  11. Resources: list all the resources that will be needed to deliver the initiative
  12. Strategies: decide on the pedagogical approach(es) for the initiative
  13. Experience: finally, map out the developmental journey on a high level

Our clients told us that this canvas nicely brings together everything there is to think about when creating a leadership development program and helps to avoid blind spots during the discovery process.

We are looking forward to using this canvas-based approach as a tool that will help maintain the balance and vision of our leadership solutions, beyond the initial design phase. If you’re curious about what a leadership canvas might look like for your organization, reach out and let us know that you would like to learn more.

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