Original Date: 02/26/2001
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Best Practice : Leadership Development Program
General Dynamics Armament Systems initiated the President’s Leadership Development in 2000. The Program’s vision is to develop a cadre of highly skilled leaders to meet immediate business needs and guide the company through the future.
Now in its third iteration, the President’s Leadership Development Program (PLDP) was launched in 2000 to fill a void in the company’s training and development structure. The Program is aimed at developing experienced people for advancement into high-level leadership positions. Additionally, the program is geared toward developing leaders rather than managers for GDAS.
The initial class of the Leadership Development Program began with the nomination of 40 high-potential candidates, each with a track record of outstanding performance. The Nominating Committee, consisting of the President and presidential staff of GDAS, then used a screening and interview process to trim the list down to 12 candidates. The group’s make-up is intentionally established as a multi-functional group to represent the different organizations within the company. Those candidates not selected are eligible for upcoming leadership development classes.
The Leadership Development Program involves six basic elements: classroom instruction, work assignments, community service, mentoring, feedback, and the buddy system. Presently, classroom instruction is planned for approximately 200 hours over a one-year period. The training focuses on leadership competencies and attributes rather than management skills. Classes are restricted to leadership development candidates, and class participation as a leadership team is required. The purpose is to create an atmosphere for team bonding. Work assignments are identified based on business requirements, skills match, and individual development need. Participants are assigned to a content-driven project, program, or functional assignment. In addition, participants report directly to the President. For community service, each participant must develop an individual community service activities plan. Continued community service involvement is highly encouraged upon completion of the PLDP. The President assigns a senior staff member as a mentor to each participant. At a minimum, mentoring activities include regulary scheduled roundtable luncheons with the President and quarterly seminars with senior-level staff. Feedback to the participants reflects progress and performance. Verbal feedback is provided at monthly meetings between the mentor and the student. The Buddy System was created in 2003 in response to the challenges presented by a geographically dispersed population. Each PLDP participant will travel to a different location and spend one week learning the site specific attributes of that location. The goal is to build a braoder base of awareness of GDAS’s capabilities and competencies. Through the President’s Leadership Development Program, GDAS expects to develop a cadre of highly skilled leaders to meet immediate business needs and guide the company through the future. The Program is envisioned to support four classes of 12 candidates on a yearly basis.
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