How to Design a Management Development Program - Sample - Case Study

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How to Design a Management Development Program - Sample - Case Study

The end goal of a Management Development program is not only to contribute to the development of individuals in an organizational context, but to address their personal dimension as well. A Management Development approach should thus be based on a win-win relationship between the company leadership and its managers (illustration).

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

  1. an increase in the manager’s employability (both internally and externally)
  2. an adaptation of the company to the new socioeconomic trends it is subject to, so that it may better face and anticipate organizational change
  3. an increase in the company’s productivity and competitiveness that should enhance its durability

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


There are mainly three types of resources that are necessary in order to implement 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 impacts the quality of Management Development policies and can even be decisive regarding its 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 professional tests (articles) and/or Assessment Centers (guidelines), for example.


Before getting into the construction of the Management Development (MD) process itself, the underlying core values - i.e. the values that should be shared by all of the company’s managers - must be determined in collaboration with the Board. As for the the Management Development process' mission statement, it should concretize the 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 process (illustration) once both its values and mission have been stated. Concretely, the construction of a Management Development concept should integrate the two following elements:

  1. the gap between the job requirements and the job holder's present competency profile
  2. the skills requirements – in terms of knowledge, know-how and behavior – that result from the company’s strategic orientations

Comparing the skills that have to be acquired by the job holder to the skills required to meet organizational goals will indeed allow us to set the priorities in terms of the development actions that ought to be set in place. This assessment process should ideally be conducted at all levels of the organization. If this is not possible, it may be offered in priority to the management or, at least, to all the holders of key positions.


Let’s take the example of a company with the following organizational values: RESPECT – PLEASURE – EFFICIENCY, and let’s see how these values can be transposed into managerial behavior:

  • RESPECT: can be translated into listening, dialogue, fairness, behavioral stability, but also respect of one’s commitment, deadlines, processes, etc.
  • PLEASURE: can be translated into team-spirit, involvement, motivation, creativity, joie de vivre, etc.
  • EFFICIENCY: can be translated into organizational skills, delegation, mobility, attention to details, decision-making, etc.

The examples below aim to show how the mission of a Management Development process may be formulated:

  1. Ensure the development of the behavioral skills of first-level managers in order to optimize their attitude regarding customer-management.
  2. Ensure, thanks to a high quality anticipative management of competencies, that all categories of managers are assessed in relation to the present key activities. Moreover, their development will have to be set up in relation to future needs, with the help of a clear action plan, the finality of which will be to harmonize the employability of the managers with the durability of the company.
  3. Develop and follow up managers within the organization in order to set up an efficient participative MBO process that will enable us to meet market demands by developing a client-partner relationship both internally and externally.
  4. Ensure that the organization, thanks to the ability of its managers to coach their collaborators, develops a flexible structure and an optimal and global network; this must be based on the development of delegation and responsibility, in order to guarantee a high quality and reliable of service.


Finally, here is a responsibility assignment matrix for a Management Development program (sample). It is dedicated to the structuring of a business succession and development plan (guidelines) and is taken from a real-life case study.


Responsibility:  Public:
M: Management of the process (initialization and control)
S: Support with competencies
E: Execution of the activity
D: Decision-making for the activity
I: Investment into development and financing
I: Top management
II: Heads of the Departments
III: Team leaders and managers


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