Premier global leadership solutions firm PDI Ninth House today announced the launch of GreatLeaderGPS, a next generation solution that blends PDI Ninth House’s proven simulation-based assessments with innovative live and online elements. This combination makes GreatLeaderGPS accessible and affordable for companies seeking a way to accelerate the readiness and development of mid-level leaders, those most responsible for driving execution within organizations.
GreatLeaderGPS is scalable and remotely accessible, so current and potential mid-level leaders can participate from their own desks, alleviating the cost and hassle of travel. This research-backed “whole person” approach combines self-paced online leadership challenges and inventories with live leadership simulations via webcam, plus coaching with PDI Ninth House leadership consultants. In GreatLeaderGPS’s approach, participants’ experiences, competencies, personality traits, motivators and possible derailers are assessed to address leadership gaps and determine readiness.
Immediately following the assessment PDI Ninth House offers live online coaching and delivers a comprehensive development plan to participants. The solution offers additional integrated components, such as an action report for bosses and a leadership talent analytics report for human resources to help organizations align individual development with organizational strategy.
“This is truly the best of both worlds,” said RJ Heckman, Ph.D., president and CEO of PDI Ninth House. “For more than 40 years our proven approach has given organizations confidence in their executive talent decisions and we’re bringing that same development approach to the masses of mid-level leaders, whether they are in Boston, Berlin or Beijing.”
A key attribute for multi-national organizations is being able to globally calibrate assessment and development for this critical level of leader. PDI Ninth House has experienced coaches from across the globe that will implement GreatLeaderGPS ensuring cultural relevancy for all participants.
The critical need for accurate mid-level leader decisions
Mid-level leaders, defined as managers of managers, are responsible for executing their organization’s strategy, which is critical to organizational success. Unfortunately, according to a 2012 Bersin & Associates study, only 49 percent of middle managers are perceived as able to drive and operate the company successfully.
“Large corporations could literally have thousands of mid-level leaders, which in the past made it cost prohibitive to use in-depth assessments for these leaders,” said Stu Crandell, Ph.D., senior vice president, PDI Ninth House. “With GreatLeaderGPS these companies will now have a scalable tool that provides actionable insight to understand not only what an individual is capable of doing in a role, but what they actually will do. This allows companies to make the right decisions on how to develop and promote the right people and create a strong talent pool of mid-level leaders who can help organizations succeed now and into the future.”
Already PDI Ninth House has successfully completed more than 700 live online assessments in 64 countries
Following are two examples of PDI Ninth House clients that have launched GreatLeaderGPS.
In ongoing efforts to ensure long-term development of talent, Arrow Electronics continues to look for programs and solutions that provide development across critical leadership transition points. HR leaders realized that they had robust programs in place for senior executives and first-level leaders, but needed to build a similar toolkit of development solutions to target mid-level leaders.
“Our development toolkit ranges from more self-driven development offerings through our LMS to more targeted development through coaching, training and assessments. We see this offering as a means of combining traditional insight tools with skills-based assessment offered at a price-point that will allow us to cast our development spend a bit wider for this important level of leader,” said Arrow Regional Talent Development Manager, North America, Alice Pickens. “These leaders play a critical part in enabling and driving our strategy. We needed a solution that could provide actionable insight and ongoing development for real results.”
PDI Ninth House and Arrow put in place a program that incorporated online learning tools and simulation-based exercises, executed via webcam, to create comprehensive, ongoing development plans that align with organizational strategy.
“It’s important to us that this solution provide not just a moment-in-time experience, but something that creates a full picture of skills, experiences and capabilities to open an ongoing dialogue between our managers and their leaders around what they can to accelerate development actions and focus,” said Pickens.
Several promotions among Esterline’s senior leadership left this specialized manufacturing company without adequate knowledge of the remaining bench strength in their mid-level leader tier. The company was using more traditional selection and development methods at this level such as performance reviews and 360 evaluations, but lacked a more robust assessment tool.
“We wanted to kickstart a more formalized program that would give us confidence in who we viewed as the organization’s future leaders,” said Esterline HR Program Manager Sara Dnell. “Half of our business is in the U.S. and half is spread throughout the rest of the world, so we looked to PDI Ninth House to provide a solution that is valid, global and consistent, and allows us to more accurately calibrate our talent strategy.”
Esterline identified high-potential leaders from across the globe. Half of the participants are taking part in the first level version of GreatLeaderGPS, which includes online instruments, surveys and simulations, plus development suggestions and PDI Ninth House’s proprietary Instant Advice® just-in-time learning modules. The other half of the group is participating in more robust levels of the solution, which include live simulation-based exercises via webcam with an expert PDI Ninth House coach. In the simulation, participants must convince a peer to move in a direction they feel very strongly about, though they don’t have any direct authority over that person.
“We expect that the outcome of these exercises will be a solid succession management path that we couldn’t get with our previous approach,” said Dnell. “Our next step will be to look at participant results and create a development approach to help them realize their full potential.”