What is the most effective way to deliver leadership development?


We are driven to understand how people learn best because we are passionate about enabling managers and leaders to make positive changes to their working practices and performance effectiveness. 

Added on 18 May 2016 by Sona Sherratt,Lee Waller

Methods research

In these fast-moving times, where there is constant pressure to do more for less or more in less time, we are often asked questions like:

  • How can you deliver the same program with less time out of the office for our busy leaders?
  • How can my global team learn together without me constantly putting them all on planes?

One of the best ways to test our beliefs and theories in trying to answer these questions, is by undertaking comprehensive, applied research projects, with real participants, in real time.  This summer, we will be embarking on a research project which seeks to compare and contrast four different approaches to learning: fully experiential; fully virtual; blended; and interactive classroom style. 

Our aim is to explore the comparative impact of the four methodologies on participant competence development and behavior change and to review potential relationships between learning methodology and personality characteristics, and between learning styles and learning agility.

We will deliver four 2-day programs, each using one of the methodologies above, to deliver the same content. The programs will offer an intensive leadership simulation, based on ten years of Ashridge research into ‘what leaders wish they had known ten years ago’. 

This research revealed that leaders experience certain critical incidents in their careers which are instrumental in how they perceive themselves and how others perceive their leadership capabilities (Poole & Carr, 2005; Reitz, Carr & Blass, 2007; Reitz, 2009). The simulation takes participants through a series of these critical incidents and allows them to experience the emotional roller-coaster associated with them in a safe and supportive environment. The objective is to facilitate the development of the ‘muscle memory’ related to these incidents and resource participants to cope better with the leadership challenges they may well end up facing in the future. It develops various leadership capacities including self-awareness, dealing with ambiguity, leading others and managing change.

The findings from the project will be used to continue to develop Ashridge’s unique approach to learning methodology for the benefit of all our partners and stakeholders, as we as being published as an Ashridge research report.

This is a unique opportunity to experience our research in action and we are seeking participants to join us. Participants need to be first-line or middle managers and currently working for an organization.

For more details on participation and to register for the program please visit our program page or contact Sam Wilkinson at sam.wilkinson@ashridge.hult.edu