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© 2008 Plug-in Excellence

Self Financed Management Development

A household name, international food manufacturing company commissioned an in-house programme to develop senior managers, with Board potential, as part of succession planning and a strategic management development programme. An overall financial target was set by the Board:

  • the programme must pay for itself as an investment
  • each participant should be able to demonstrate this individually.

After basic, scene setting workshops, the process engaged the participants in programme design and focus. Feedback on any aspect was encouraged.

Needs focus

As needs were established, and where required, external experts were introduced to provide relevant input and assistance to the development process.

Pick faculty

A key selection criterion for inclusion on the programme 'faculty' was real-world experience and specialist expertise to ensure practical outputs and uses of the learning.

Measure Your Work

Work was done to assist the group to develop feedback mechanisms and metrics, based on the work they were covering.

This helped participants get feedback from their boss, colleagues and the people they managed. The data helped them relate their views on their personal performance to the real-world perceptions of the people they worked with. This in turn stimulated acceptance and commitment to work on areas necessary for personal growth and enhanced effectiveness.

Consult and Coach

The support process entailed consultation, on site visits and coaching sessions with the delegates. In the early phases, the contact was focused on establishing the personal outcomes, benefits wanted and identifying resource requirements. However, these were not tablets of stone as, of course, the real world and new learning meant that adaptation would be necessary to integrate the learning with reality.

As the programme continued, the emphasis moved into coaching and supporting the managers as they tackled key real-world projects and issues, that mattered to them, as they progressed through workshops and practical work over an eighteen month period.


At a final residential workshop and get together, the top management and involved UK Board members attended a presentation from each participant covering the benefits they believed they had gained, the financial contribution of the work and recommendations for future action. Savings above £2M, hugely outweighing the cost of the project, were achieved. In addition to the financial return the participants were at pains to point out the benefits they had received as managers and at a personal level.