Click here to skip navigation
This website uses features which update page content based on user actions. If you are using assistive technology to view web content, please ensure your settings allow for the page content to update after initial load (this is sometimes called "forms mode"). Additionally, if you are using assistive technology and would like to be notified of items via alert boxes, please follow this link to enable alert boxes for your session profile.
An official website of the United States Government.

Sign In

Training and Development Policy Wiki

Page History: Executive Learning and Development

Compare Page Revisions

Page Revision: 3/27/2013 10:43:36 AM

Executive Learning and Development

Development should not end once an individual becomes an executive.  Life-long learning is essential to ensure the executive remains relevant in today’s fast paced environment.  Facing constant challenges, changing technologies and a fluid environment, executives must pursue ongoing professional executive development to succeed and grow. It is crucial that executives continue to strengthen and enhance their Executive Core Qualifications (ECQs) broaden their perspectives, and strengthen their performance.

Federal agencies are required by law (Title 5, U.S. Code, Section 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. The Executive Development Plan (EDP) is a key tool in assisting executives in their continued development.  EDPs should outline a senior executive's short-term and long-term developmental activities which will enhance the 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 body designated by the agency to oversee executive development.

OPM has developed a sample EDP template you or your agency can use. Department of Commerce has developed this IDP/EDP template for its executives.  Department of Labor also created an EDP Template and A Guide to Writing an Executive Development Plan (EDP) that references, by ECQ competency, possible training and books.

                              JUST RELEASED: OPM's Executive Development Best Practices Guide                                 OPM conducted interviews with 17 Fortune-500 companies and 21 Federal agencies to compile current trends and best practices in the field of executive development.

Does your Agency have an EDP template that you find useful? Please share it with us!

There may be barriers or perceived barriers to 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 (360 degree assessments, details, mentoring, coaching, residential programs, etc.).  How can you overcome these barriers?  The article, Three Barriers to Owning your Leadership Development, presents an interesting way of thinking about these barriers and some possible solutions.  Do you have ideas or suggestions?

Solve Problems

(What tools are available for Executive Development?)

360 Degree Feedback: 360 degree feedback is a widely used method and tool to assist in identifying strengths and developmental needs.  OPM offers 360 degree survey services, as do other organizations.

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 is currently piloting mentoring program featuring the latest techniques for transfer of knowledge and information such as Speed mentoring, and Reverse mentoring. For more detailed information, please see our Mentoring-and-Coaching wiki page. And please share your comments and practices your agency uses in mentoring. 

Mobility Assignments:  Current and aspiring executives have the option to participate in mobility assignments (5 U.S.C. 3131). These assignments consist of details, special/short-term assignments, transfers, projects, use of Intergovernmental Personnel Act authority, sabbaticals, formal training, and other creative ways to expose executives to challenges or otherwise expand their capacity to serve.

Sabbaticals: Another means for an SES member to gain a broader knowledge and experience is to participate in a sabbatical. Sabbaticals may be used for teaching; study (independent or structured); research; developmental work experience in the private sector, non-profit organizations, State, local, or foreign governments; and an activity or a project not covered above. 

Other tools could include books, book summaries, webinars, and serving on Intra-agency work groups. What tools have you found useful in your professional development as an executive?

Stay Current

(What are other organizations doing in this area? Does your agency have any tips or ideas to share?)

Check out the Harvard Business Review.  The site features great articles, discussions, 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 offer many training and development programs of interest to the executive and aspiring executive. The Federal Executive Boards (FEBs) are a forum for communication and collaboration among Federal agencies outside Washington, DC. The National network of 28 FEBs, located in areas of significant Federal populations, serves as the cornerstone for strategic partnering in Government.

National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA)
The Department of Energy’s NNSA has implemented the Executive Career Enrichment Initiative.  This program is designed to be a comprehensive leadership program for the NNSA leadership Corps.  The program helps to define NNSA’s Executive Corps (consisting of members of the SES and Excepted Service), it enriches the careers of NNSA Executives, it develops future Executives, and it enhances NNSA’s mission execution and growth.  For more details on this exciting program, view these powerpoint slides.
Department of Energy
The U.S. Department of Energy has developed a Senior Executive Seminars and Courses guide. The guide contains descriptions of over 350 courses, offered by 56 colleges and universities and OPM. Each course is matched to a particular ECQ though 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 institutions of where they are offered. Please check the institution's websites prior to registering.
Department of the Interior
The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) developed an Executive Development policy and fillable EDP. DOI's policy provides 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 and develop their EDP. The policy also includes tips on writing an EDP.
Department of Health and Human Services
The Department of Health and Human Services began a series of SES Leadership Development Forums to provide meaningful leadership development training to its executives.  These trainings, which are held every few months, offer leadership development, functional training and networking opportunities for executives.  In addition to leadership and career development, the Forums are a way to involve the SES in the vision and priorities of the Agency and the Administration.
The kick-off was held in September 2010 in Washington, DC with Secretary Sebelius, Deputy Secretary Corr, and senior White House, OMB and OPM officials briefing 220 SES members on Departmental and Administration priorities.  Since the kick-off, HHS has held a second all-SES forum at the National Institutes of Health and two mini-Forums on Health Reform and Telework, and plans to continue these programs.

Tell us about your agency’s efforts toward Executive Development so we can highlight them here.

Find Opportunities

(What training or other opportunities are available for Executives?)

OPM Executive Leadership and Development Programs

OPM offers a variety of training and development opportunities online and as resident programs.  To learn more about these opportunities visit the Leadership and Development site.

Other organizations that help people in their quest to become better leaders

Discover Helpful Tools and Resources

(What other tools and resources are available to me?)

If you see an error or have any suggestions for improvement, please email us at

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.