Click here to skip navigation
An official website of the United States Government -

Sign In

Training and Development Policy Wiki

Subscribe to this page via a RSS feed

Executive Learning and Development

Executive Learning

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 as barriers to their ability to support professional development.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.

Executive Order—Strengthening the Senior Executive Service

The President issued an Executive Order on December 15, 2015 to strengthen the Senior Executive Service.   The EO focuses on three key areas: 1) Hiring the Best Talent, 2) Strengthening SES Development, and 3) Improving SES Accountability, Recognition, and Rewards.  The Executive Order is available at:

  • The purpose of the forum is to provide Federal agencies support and guidance to effectively implement these requirements.  Additionally, several agencies will share their strategic approach to executive development including their talent management review and rotations programs.

    EO Forum Presentations & Handouts

OPM Welcome Slides
OMB Remarks on Talent Management/Development & the EO on SES
Overview of OPM Guidance on Executive Rotations
Missile Defense Agency- Talent and Succession Management
Nuclear Regulatory Commission- NRC Succession Planning Process
NRC Succession Planning Working Draft Handout

OPM’s Executive Rotations Roundtable

On Tuesday, May 15th, OPM’s Work-Life and Leadership & Executive Development Group is hosted an in-person roundtable to share the FY 2018 Executive Rotations Data Call results, provide an update on the status of executive rotation programs, and highlight agencies who have demonstrated a strong commitment to executive mobility. The Roundtable highlighted the following executive rotation program components:

  • Executive rotations alignment to an agency’s talent and succession management process

  • Communication strategy used to promote executive rotations

  • Program evaluation (methodology and metrics)

  • Successes and challenges of program implementation

To view the webcast recording, please click here:

Webcast Breakdown

  • Status of Federal Executive Rotations(Start - 2:48)

  • Executive Rotations Panel (Start – 22:39)

  • Towanda Brooks, Chief Human Capital Officer, Department of Housing and Urban Development

  • Andrea Bright, Chief Human Capital Officer, Office of Personnel Management

  • Bonnie Doyle, Assistant Deputy Commissioner for Human Resources and Deputy Chief Human Capital Officer, Social Security Administration

  • ESCS Rotation Modules Showcase (Start – 1:39:00)

Please click here to view the Executive Rotations Roundtable Slide Deck.
 For questions, please e-mail

SES Situational Mentoring

Federal agencies are required by law (5 U.S.C. 3396) to establish programs for the continuing development of senior executives.  One tool that OPM has developed to help is the SES Situational Mentoring program. As an SES mentor please view these program Frequently Asked Questions and Roles and Responsibilities for detailed information about the program and your role. SES members interested in being mentored by a federal executive should email For more information about the SES Situational Mentoring program please view this video.

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 SES Survey 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 trend continues today. In fact, the 2016 SES Exit Survey results also indicate more executives desire coaching and other executive development activities, Again, SES members interested in being mentored by a federal executive should email


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 & Resources

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

  • OPM offers a variety of training and development opportunities as online or resident programs.  To learn more about these opportunities visit the Leadership and Development Page on OPM’s website.

  • OPM’s Framework for the Continuing Development of Federal Senior Executives: this framework extends the information and guidance provided in OPM’s Supervisory and Managerial Frameworks and Guidance and focuses on the capstone level of the Federal leadership journey. OPM’s suite of frameworks are intended to assist senior leaders with effective agency talent management and succession planning efforts, and to assist agency instructional designers and training managers to chart leadership development. This executive development framework incorporates mandatory training, recommended key leadership behaviors, developmental objectives, and developmental opportunities at each specific stage of an executive’s lifecycle of learning. Executives are also encouraged to review the framework to assess their current state of development and create a plan to strengthen specific competencies. The most effective executive development is deliberate and targeted to meet specific developmental goals.

  • OPM’s Executive Development Best Practices Guide contains information compiled from interviews with 17 Fortune-500 companies and 21 Federal agencies and reflects current trends and best practices in the field of executive development.
  • OPM's "Executive Excellence and Wellness through Strategic Leadership" course- this course is a tool you can use to gain valuable knowledge, strategies and resources on how to use strategic leadership skills in your work and personal life to achieve executive excellence and wellness. The strategies in this training — even if obvious or intuitive — are designed to provide a helpful reminder of the value of strategic approaches to both work and personal life. Duration: 30 minutes. Download the SCORM 1.2 course package here. Course Contact:

  • OPM’s “Leading Change”- This online course was developed by OPM and is a tool that executives can use to practice their leadership skills by leading an organization through a significant transition. During this simulation, executives will be provided with information that they will use to make decisions regarding a change management initiative. The executive will need to manage all the aspects of their daily office environment: emails, voicemails, phone calls, and meetings. The decisions that are made throughout the course will impact their team, their relationship with their supervisor, and the outcome of the initiative. Download the SCORM 1.2 course package here.  Course Contact:   

  • OPM’s “Emotionally Intelligent Leadership”- This online course was developed by OPM and is a tool that leaders can use to learn about and apply the principles of Emotional Intelligence. The course has two components: an instructional component that provides an overview of Emotional Intelligence, and a scenario component that allows you to practice your new skills within various realistic contexts. The strategies in this training are designed to provide leadership with strong emotional intelligence skills that can be used to help build stronger relationships among leaders, peers, and staff. Download the SCORM 1.2 course package here.  Course Contact:

  • OPM’s "Linking and Developing Measurable SES Results-Focused Performance Requirements" course- the purpose of this course is to assist SES members with developing performance requirement(s) for the Results Driven critical element in their SES Performance Plans. Performance requirements must be linked to organizational goals and focus on achieving measurable results. Duration: 30-45 minutes. Download the SCORM 1.2 course package hereIf you choose to download the SCORM package, please contact Cheryl at to request the course evaluation form specific to this training.

     NOTE: There is specific language in the course regarding “always” including both quality and timeliness metrics in SES performance requirements. This language is intended to communicate and promulgate a best and desirable practice; however, it does not address certification requirements and is not intended to set or change current certification practice.  The content is intended to promote good performance management by and for the audience of operational senior executives, rather than human resources practitioners, and therefore focuses on ideal performance management implementation practices rather than OPM’s certification requirements. 

  • OPM's "Applying Executive Core Qualifications for Effective Enterprise Leadership in the Federal Government" course--The purposes of the course are to provide SES-level participants with a deep practical and theoretical understanding of the OPM Executive Core Qualifications (ECQ), as well as the knowledge on how to apply ECQs to lead cross-cutting change initiatives that require broad collaboration across organizations and agencies. The course draws on a case study of the 2011 interagency collaborative effort to design a Governmentwide model SES performance appraisal system, and provides participants with a highly-participatory and interactive experience.  The course includes simulations and exercises in which participants have an opportunity to explore various leadership behaviors, make decisions that lead to specific scenario outcomes, and collaborate and network with other participants.  Duration: 1 day. OPM provides the materials for the course. It is up to the agency to deliver the course using the course materials.The following are the materials for the course: Course PresentationInstructor Guide, Participant GuideCase Study Challenges; What Really Happened (designed to be provided to participants after the course), and the Course Evaluation. Please contact for any questions regarding the course.   

  • OPM's "Introduction to Leave, Work-Life, and Workplace Flexibilities"course- This course is designed for managers and employees seeking to understand the vast resources and flexible workplace options available in the Federal government as well as how to access and apply those resources effectively. Duration: 90 minutes. Download the SCORM 1.2 course package here. Please contact Porschetta at for instructions on how to upload the SCORM package to your agency's LMS.

  • OPM’s Basic Employee Relations:  Your Accountability as a Supervisor or Manager- This course is designed to build the supervisor, manager, or ER practitioner’s skills in handling performance and discipline problems. Students will explore the importance of communicating and documenting, and the procedures from counseling for improvement to implementing formal consequences, including how to take appropriate action to effectively address performance, leave and other disciplinary concerns. This course also covers a supervisor’s or manager’s accountability in basic performance management, labor relations, as well as accountability in the Senior Executive Service. Download the SCORM 1.2 course package here.

    POC: Employee Accountability,, 202-606-2930     

  • OPM's Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, and Stalking in the Workplace course- This training is designed to provide guidance and tips on the sensitive and difficult topics related to managing a domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking (DVSAS) matter in the workplace. Among other things, this course will provide information on the definitions and types of DVSAS, how DVSAS is a workplace issue, possible signs and symptoms of DVSAS, confidentiality in the workplace, and identifying the internal and external resources available to assist employees and managers. Duration: 90 minutes. Download the SCORM 1.2 course package here. Please contact Alexis at                               

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)


  • DOE has developed an SES Courses and Seminars Guide which contains descriptions of over 350 courses, offered by 56 colleges, universities, and OPM.  Each course is matched to a particular ECQ, although some courses may have more than one ECQ.  Please note that course descriptions and information on dates, locations, and costs are taken directly from the course catalogs of their corresponding institutions.  Please check the institution's websites prior to registering.

  • The DOE’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) has implemented the Executive Career Enrichment Initiative.  Designed to be a comprehensive leadership program for the NNSA Executive Corps, the program (composed of members of the SES and Excepted Service) enriches the careers of NNSA Executives, develops future executives, and enhances the execution and growth of NNSA’s mission.  For more details on this exciting program, click here to view the program PowerPoint slides.

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

  • DOI has developed an Executive Development Policy and fillable EDP, which provide guidance for continuing professional development of DOI's executives, senior leaders and senior technical staff.  At the beginning of each fiscal year, all DOI executives must develop learning goals in addition to their EDP. The policy also includes tips on writing an EDP.

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

  • HHS began a series of SES Leadership Development Forums to provide meaningful leadership development training to its executives.  These trainings, held every few months, offer leadership development, functional training and networking opportunities for executives.  In addition to leadership and career development, these forums are a way to involve the SES in the priorities of both the agency and the administration. Please visit the HHS homepage for more information.

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:

  • 360 Degree Feedback: A common method used by many organizations to help executives identify strengths and developmental needs.  Click on this link for information on OPM’s 360 degree survey services.
  • Formal Training: OPM offers formal training at its Management Development Centers and the Federal Executive Institute.  There are many other formal training opportunities outside OPM. For more information, visit the Executive Development Community web page.
  • Mentoring and Coaching: Mentoring and Coaching are very effective tools for personal and leadership development. OPM’s current mentoring program features the latest techniques for Knowledge Transfer, Speed mentoring, and Reverse mentoring. For more detailed information, please visit the Mentoring Wiki Page and Coaching Wiki Page, and share comments and best practices used by your agency.
  • Mobility Assignments: Both current and aspiring executives have the option to participate in mobility assignments (5 U.S.C. 3131). These assignments include details, special/short-term assignments, transfers, projects, use of Intergovernmental Personnel Act authority, sabbaticals, formal training, and other creative methods to expose executives to challenges and expand their capacity to serve.
  • Sabbaticals: SES members can also gain broader knowledge and experience by participating in a sabbatical. Sabbaticals may be used for teaching, study (independent or structured), research, or to develop work experience in the private sector, non-profit organizations, and State, Local, or Foreign governments. Other tools could include books, book summaries, webinars, and service in intra-agency work groups. 
Control Panel

Unexpected Error

There was an unexpected error when performing your action.

Your error has been logged and the appropriate people notified. You may close this message and try your command again, perhaps after refreshing the page. If you continue to experience issues, please notify the site administrator.