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The final goal of Management Development programs is to contribute to the professional development of individuals in an organizational context. A management development approach should thus be supported by actual win-win relationships between the company leadership and its managers (illustration).

Thus, management development is often regarded not so much as an end in itself than as a means to:

  1. strengthen the manager’s employability (both internally and externally);
  2. adjust the company to the new socioeconomic trends it is subject to, so that it may better face and anticipate organizational change;
  3. raise the company’s productivity and competitiveness in order to enhance its durability.

Ideally, organizational development should rely on 3 strongly interdependent concepts that make up the main pillars of every HR department’s development strategy: Management Development (MD), Management by Objectives (MBO) and Training programs (guidelines).


There are mainly three types of resources that are necessary to the implementation a management development program:

1) Financial resources: all Management Development concepts should include a Business Plan. Depending on the company’s development policy, this budget may or may not be an integral part of the budget allocated to training.

The financial factor strongly influences the efficiency of management development policies and can even be decisive with regard to their implementation. To give you an idea, the budget allocated to training programs generally represents between 1.3 and 5% of the entire payroll, depending on the company’s size and industry.

2) Human resources: the company can choose between two types of human resources:

  • Internal resources: managers and specialists internal to the organization and who will be selected to coach their employees and/or colleagues.
  • External resources:  trainers and/or experts from training and consulting firms that are external to the organization. In this case, very clear specifications will have to be determined for each development action.

3) Technological resources: resources such as the infrastructure, IT material or specific techniques that are necessary to implement the decisions can have a huge impact on the training program’s budget. The Management Development process also requires the use of assessment tools such as personal skills assessment tests (topic) and/or Assessment Centers (guidelines), for example.

PRACTICE
Before getting into the setup of the management development process, we need to define its underlying core values – i.e. the values that should be shared by all of the company’s managers. This should be done in collaboration with the Board. As for the the mission statement of a management development program, it should embed the otherwise abstract message conveyed by the company’s organizational values.

The following illustration details the different steps that will have to be followed by the management development program (illustration) once both its values and mission have been stated. Concretely speaking, the design of a management development concept should integrate the two following elements:

  1. the gap between the skill requirements of a given job/mission and the job holder’s current competency profile;
  2. the skill requirements – in terms of knowledge, know-how and personal (or ‘behavioral’) skills – that result from the strategic orientations of the organization.

Comparing the skills that have to be acquired by the job holder to the skills that are required to meet organizational goals will indeed allow us to prioritize competency development policies and actions. This assessment of the needs in terms of competency development actions should ideally be performed at all levels of the organization. Should this not be possible, it should be offered in priority to managers and other holders of key positions.


Let’s take the example of a company that holds the following organizational values: RESPECT – FUN – EFFICIENCY, and let’s see how these values can be derived into concrete managerial behavior:

  • RESPECT: may translate into listening to employees, openness to dialogue, fairness, behavioral of expectations, respect of one’s commitments, of set deadlines, of procedures, etc.
  • FUN: may translate into the active contribution to good team spirit, personal involvement in projects, the encouragement of team members, the fostering of creativity, joie de vivre, etc.
  • EFFICIENCY: may translate into the buildup of organizational skills, the strengthening of delegation, mobility, attention to details, independent decision-making, etc.

And here is an example of a mission statement for a management development program:

  • Ensure the development of the personal (or ‘behavioral’) skills of first-level managers in order to optimize their attitude towards customer-management.
  • Conduct an assessment of all categories of managers in relation to their current key activities, using high quality and forwar
  • Develop the skills of managers and follow up their evolution within the organization, so as to implement an effective and participative MBO system. This, in turn, will enable us to meet market demands by developing partnership relationships with both internal and external customers.
    Ensure the flexibility of organizational structures through the ability of managers to coach their team members and act up togehter as a coordinated network. This approach will have to be supported by the strengthening of delegation and responsibility, in order to guarantee high quality and reliable service.