Executive Learning and Development

Life-long learning is essential for individuals at all levels to remain relevant in today’s fast-paced environment.  Faced with constant challenges, changing technologies, and a fluid environment, executives especially must continue to broaden their perspectives and strive for continual professional executive development. Executives must specifically strengthen and reinforce their Executive Core Qualifications (ECQs), skills, and knowledge to make informed decisions and devise new innovative solutions to the complex challenges they continuously encounter.

Federal agencies often perceive resource constraints (including both time and funding) as barriers to their ability to support professional development. Irrespective of actual or perceived resource limitations, however, the Federal Government will be better served by equipping its executives with the knowledge and capabilities required to meet the leadership demands of the 21st century. By strategically prioritizing executive development, Federal agencies will maximize executive leadership effectiveness and potential, as well as significant organizational outcomes, while preparing the leadership corps for future challenges.

The Executive Development Plan (EDP) is a key tool in assisting executives in their continued development.  EDPs should outline the short-term and long-term developmental activities that will enhance an executive's performance.  These activities should meet organizational needs for Leadership, Managerial Improvement, and Results.  EDPs should be reviewed annually and revised as appropriate by an Executive Resources Board (or similar governing body designated by the agency to oversee executive development).

The 2008 Survey of Senior Executives indicated that many executives felt their training and developmental needs were not being met by their agency.  Over one third of the executives surveyed indicated they had never taken advantage of the activities commonly used for developing executives (e.g. 360 degree assessments, details, mentoring, coaching, residential programs, etc.).  The article, Three Barriers to Owning your Leadership Development, presents an interesting way of thinking about these barriers and some possible solutions.


Regulations

Federal agencies are required by law (5 U.S.C. 3396) to establish programs for the continuing development of senior executives.  SES members are required to prepare, implement, and regularly update an EDP as specified by 5 CFR 412.401.


Federal Government Tools and Resources

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM)

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)

 

The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI)

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS)

Other Public Sector organizations that encourage executive development:

Private Sector Tools and Resources

The Harvard Business Review: Features informational articles, discussions, and webinars for executives and managers alike. Subscribe to stay up to date on new and cutting edge trends in growing and developing senior leadership.

Federal Executive Boards (FEBs): FEBs are a forum for communication and collaboration among Federal agencies outside Washington, DC, and offer many training and development programs of interest to the executive and aspiring executive. The National network consists of 28 FEBs, located in areas of significant Federal populations, and serves as the cornerstone for strategic partnering in Government.

Private sector organizations that encourage executive development:

 

Helpful Tips

Remember that Executive Learning and Development can take place in a variety of forms. Here are a few ideas to get you started: