Leadership DevelopmentCore Practices

We See Leadership Through the Lens of Your Business and Know Getting Great Business Results Requires Great Leaders

Leadership Development is essential to the success of an organization. No matter what measure you use, companies with effective leaders execute better and deliver more powerful, tangible business results. Working with thousands of leaders in more than 100 countries, BTS has been able to discern and distill the keys to successful leadership development:

  • Leaders who are engaged in developing their reports are more effective at setting expectations, linking learning to strategic priorities, and providing relevant coaching;
  • Business Simulations and Experiential Learning work across leadership styles, learning styles, and geographic or cultural boundaries;
  • Customized leadership development programs tie learning back to real-world business strategies, competencies, and culture;
  • A blended combination of instructor-led classroom leadership development with online and virtual programs create the most significant long-term impact;
  • Leadership development programs need to be delivered globally, translated into local languages and business norms.

Definition of Leadership Development

There are many, and often differing, leadership development definitions. Through experience with clients and synthesizing some top leading authorities, we do, however, subscribe to a set of core assumptions in approaching a definition:

Leadership development expands the capacity of individuals to perform in leadership roles within organizations. Leadership roles are those that facilitate execution of a company’s strategy through: building alignment, winning mindshare and growing the capabilities of others. Leadership roles may be formal, with the corresponding authority to make decisions and take responsibility, or they may be informal roles with little official authority (e.g., a member of a team who influences team engagement, purpose and direction; a lateral peer who must listen and negotiate through influence).

Leadership skills can be taught. Developing great leadership is a journey. And leadership development is essential across the organization. In order to drive strategy execution, it’s important to meet the needs of leaders at different levels of the organization.

Strategy Execution Driven by Front Line Leaders

Strategic execution is realized through people. The largest group with the opportunity to impact the alignment, mindset and capabilities of others around a strategy are an organization’s front-line leaders. Front-line managers or Supervisors, along with their direct reports, either directly or indirectly, touch every single customer. And yet, through our client work, we’ve found that front-line leaders are woefully underserved:

  • In a study by Bersin and Associates, only 27% of the organizations studied actually linked their management development to strategic results. The research found that the great majority of companies relied upon a patchwork of disparate training courses linked to personal development, rather than the 27% who used an integrated learning approach tied to the business outcomes.
  • Additionally, research shows that companies spend far more on the development of executives and technical specialists (23% and 25% respectively of training budgets) than on this critical audience of front-line managers (9%).

The Following are some Front-Line Leaders Development Areas that we have addressed:

  • Developing Personal Leadership Impact
  • Elevating Personal Leadership Skills
  • Leading Teams for Results
  • Leadership Fundamentals
  • High Performing Teams
  • Leading in a Matrix Organization
  • Coaching for High Performance
  • Values-Based Leadership and Decision-Making
  • Understanding How to Deliver Business Results through Others
  • Business Acumen
  • Strategy Alignment: Setting Strategic Context for Team
  • Understanding Customers Business

Sony Empowers Front-Line Leaders to Drive Change

Through the customized business simulation program, Sony’s frontline leaders developed new skills and a new mindset better enabling them to embrace change.

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Rising Horizons: Bridging Africa’s Talent Gap

Leadership Development Lessons from South Africa Pre- and Post-Apartheid

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Mid-Level Leaders

One of the greatest challenges for leaders is when they go from leading others to being the manager of managers. Mid-level leaders often have some of the largest spans of control, multiple teams, and are accountable for large budgets and developing pools of talent while wielding significant influence in the organization. Their leadership reality includes the ever-increasing complexity of being “caught in the middle of the crossfire to execute for all their internal customers.”

To be effective, these leaders must translate and communicate the strategy that comes down from the senior leadership team, balance the need to effectively influence up, down, and across the enterprise, lead their team so that they are aligned, and have the right mindset and the capabilities needed for successful execution of the company strategy.

The Following are some Mid-level Leader Development Areas that we have addressed:

  • Leading Strategy Execution
  • Translating Strategy into Action
  • Developing Authentic Leadership
  • Aligning and Engaging Remote Teams
  • Leading in a Matrix Organization
  • Leading High Performing Teams
  • Business Acumen, Financial Acumen & Decision Making
  • Customer Understanding

Creating Delicious Moments of Joy: How Mondelez Executes a New Operating Model

Practice Leads to Performance as Nike Accelerates Strategy Execution

High Potential Leaders

Faced with the highest expectations, the most challenging assignments, and the need to build effective teams quickly, leadership development is essential when it comes to ‘high potential’ leaders. The group demands a different level of support and inspiration to hone leadership skills and increase agility.

We address high-potential leadership development areas such as advanced business acumen and leadership behaviors, and assess potential while preparing leaders for bigger, broader, and more senior roles.

How McDonald's Develops High-Potential Leaders

Beth Piper and Lorelie Parolin share how McDonald's uses business simulations in their high potential leadership program.

Executive Leaders

As leaders shift from functional/business unit to enterprise leader, they need to have the right alignment, mindset, and capabilities to create and lead the execution of strategy. We recognize the importance of setting your executive leaders, and thus your business, up for success using our Great Framework and other proven tools.

  • Development Assessment
  • Enterprise Leadership: Strategy Alignment & Cross-Functional Collaboration
  • Evolving the Enterprise Business Model and New Leader Behaviors
  • Business/Financial Acumen & Improved Decision Making
  • Establishing an Innovative Culture
  • Embedding Values
  • Shifting to a Customer-Centric Culture
  • Integration into Rhythm of the Business
  • Practice as a Service
  • Coaching

Chevron Case Study: Accelerating Executive Development at Chevron

The Chevron team developed a strategy for delivering enterprise value creation and successfully led it into action through team work and collaboration.

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How a CEO Inspired a New Business by Taking People Out of Their Comfort Zone

Strategically placed at the heart of the program was a customized, competitive simulation built to integrate and test participants’ successful application of the newly acquired knowledge.

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Fluor Develops their Executive Development Program


New employees are 69% more likely to stay at their jobs after three years if they've experienced a well-structured on-boarding program. Rapid on-boarding orients new employees to an organization, as it drives organizational transformation and change.

Successful onboarding leads to accelerated productivity, improved retention and deeper bench strength, higher employee satisfaction, and engaged employees who execute on the organization’s strategic objectives and deliver results. Hiring new employees is an investment and establishing a formal onboarding process is essential. Whether the company has 100 people or 100,000, the lessons are the same. By coupling necessary skills with an emotional commitment to sustaining the company and its culture, onboarding builds short- and long-term company value.

The Following are some New Employee Development Areas that we have addressed:

  • Leader engagement
  • Portal and online community
  • Assimilation acceleration
  • Position-specific onboarding plans and job effectiveness acceleration
  • Know-the-Business programs

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