Chairman Bill Weldon said, “The most important responsibility all of us have is to develop the leaders of the future. It is the greatest challenge we have and the most important legacy that we can leave behind.”
With this type of top-level support for leadership development, it is no wonder Johnson & Johnson decided to focus on developing its key “manager of manager” position as the “bridge between strategy and execution” throughout the enterprise. And given limited time availability of these critical managers and its interest in embedding a sustainable “leaders developing leaders” skill set, mindset and tool set, Johnson & Johnson decided a more comprehensive, ongoing, blended-learning experience would best suit its needs.
Phase 1: Online Pre-Work
This phase includes a welcome packet, introducing program structure and components; official webinar kickoff experience with class peers and facilitators; a personal learning journal to use during the online work; courseware requiring a seven-week investment of 30 to 60 minutes per week including four Web-based leadership briefings on the foundational program topics and a fictional case study positioned as part of a plausible “new” business in Johnson & Johnson, providing near-real-world opportunities to begin applying information from the briefings. An interview protocol tool for “action learning” interviews with current or former managers of managers to learn more about the role firsthand and a 360-degree, behavior-based assessment related to the four leadership briefing topics are also included.
Phase 2: Classroom Workshop
This three-day event deepens participants’ knowledge and application of the concepts, models and tools presented in the Phase 1 online work by practicing and testing ideas and approaches on their real-world, people-development challenges. In addition, it provides a forum for disseminating information and creating a consistent approach to talent management worldwide.
Phase 3: Online Post-Work
Many resources and activities are provided for three months following the workshop, although none of these are mandatory. They include:
In addition, the program administrator follows up with participants in 90 days to encourage and guide completion of their action plans. At the end of Phase 3, a follow-up survey is sent to participants and their managers asking about the on-the-job impact of actions implemented. While the program has been in place for a little more than a year, therefore with a relatively small sample size, self-report results show: Nearly 60 percent discussed their program action plans with their manager immediately after the program, 100 percent implemented some or almost all the actions they listed and more than 85 percent had actually used the learning from the program on the job when they returned.
Mary Lauria, Johnson & Johnson’s director of management education and development, has summarized the value of this learning experience.
“J&J’s strategy is very simple: leadership and growth,” she said. “While there is no better training ground than an actual job assignment, we believe leaders at all levels around the world should be supported at critical transition points in their careers. This is where the Leaders Developing Leaders program plays a very critical role. It is a strategic investment, aligned to our business strategy, helping to build our pipeline with extraordinary leaders. Using a blended-learning approach, it provides participants with the right skills, approaches and tools to develop the leaders for our future.”
Stephen L. Cohen is vice president of the Learning Solutions Group (LSG) for Carlson Marketing Group, a relationship marketing services firm and a division of the Carlson Co. Andrea Deege is a senior learning consultant with LSG responsible for needs assessment and design, development and delivery of all program elements. Uneeda Brewer-Frazier is director of management education and development for Johnson & Johnson. They can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.