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Preparing Mid-Managers for a Leadership Role: A Case Study – Part 4 of 4

Evaluating Progress: Three Years Later – Program End

Part I of this case study discussed the background and initial steps in developing a program to prepare mid-managers of a national car rental company for future leadership roles. Part II focused on evaluating progress of the program after one year. Part III focused on evaluating progress of the program after two years have passed.  Part IV will focus on the evaluation of the program at its conclusion.

Before we get to the program evaluation, let’s follow up on some additional issues that were discussed in Part III of this series.

The analysis of the number of program participants that would transition to new roles and responsibilities, and the timeline for that to occur, was completed in less than the 6 months allocated for the project.  The results of the analysis enabled the managers of the various departments and business units to make their staffing plans for the next 5 years and begin to recruit to fill roles and take on responsibilities that open up within their areas.  Much of the recruiting to fill these roles was being done internally (which was a goal of the executive staff when they took on the work to ensure that there were career paths for nearly every employee within the company).  Participants in the supervisory, project management and management training programs were given preference for new roles within the organization which would enable them to use their newly acquired skills and knowledge.  More junior employees moved into the roles they vacated, which opened up room for 10 new hires within the organization at the individual contributor level.

It was a concern of the executive team that employees might expect these types of promotions and movement throughout the organization regularly, and while they wanted to be sure there were always opportunities for employees, they knew that something at this level would likely not be seen for a while.  The CEO sent a memo to all employees, and followed up at an all hands meeting, thanking them for their patience through a very challenging and ever-changing few years and stating that development of career paths and opportunities for employees was an ongoing challenge that the executive team would continuously address.  The CEO asked all employees to help them by finding opportunities throughout the organization for themselves and never hesitating to ask their immediate manager for additional responsibilities or the opportunity to take on a new assignment to further development themselves professionally.

The program ends successfully!

The 53 participants who started the program all ended the program.  There were no drop outs.  The L&D group had expected that there would be some drop outs throughout the program as that was normal in any program of such length and vigor and were pleasantly surprised that everyone completed the program.

Of the 53 participants:

  • 20 of them immediately took on new leadership roles within the organization
  • 12 of them stayed within their business units/departments but took on increasing responsibility
  • 15 of them were slated to move to new roles within 6 – 9 months
  • 6 of them  were slated to move to new roles within 9 – 12 months

Overall the program was highly successful. The strategy projects completed by the participants added value to the organization and enabled for opening of new locations and expanding of business operations in current locations.

All graduates of the program stayed with their coach after the program ended and more than half continued work with an external coach of their choosing with full company support.

The movement between business units throughout the three years really enabled the participants to get a feel for the business as a whole, thereby enabling them to be more effective in their roles.  The number of ideas that came out of the program participants to help the business to grow and continue to prosper was amazing to the CEO and he, along with the Board, were more than pleased with the results.

No additional changes were made to the program and another round of participants (20 in total) were expected to go through the program beginning with an one year timeframe.  Many of these future participants were likely to be called on to open new offices for the company.


The L&D group was proud of their success with the program and the results, to date, of the other programs they initiated.  The company was definitely becoming a learning-focused organization.  Investment was made in the L&D group to ensure continued programs for all employees.

The lessons learned from this program were carried over to other new programs that were released within the organization – with communication frequently and early being a key component of any new program released by the L&D group.

A formal coaching program was developed within the company, and all employees, regardless of their level, were afforded the opportunity to use a coach to help themselves continue to grow and develop.  Becoming a coach was a reward for some of the company’s best employees and was a requirement of all mid-level and senior management employees.  Training was provided to coaches to ensure their effectiveness.  A separate function within HR was assigned to managing the coaching practice and hiring and training of all coaches for the company.

Overall, the organization was pleased with the amount of progress made within a short timeframe.  There was still much more to be done, but the entire organization pulled together to ensure success to date. Teamwork improved overall and business units/departments worked together much more effectively and collaboratively than they had before.

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