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Companies with Strategic Leadership Development Programs Obtain Signficant Business Benefits

Increased Business Impact, Increased Executive and Employee Retention, and Deeper Leadership Bench Strength among Documented Benefits

OAKLAND, Calif., September 19, 2007.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Bersin & Associates, the only research and advisory firm solely focused on What Works® in enterprise learning and talent management, today released its latest research report, High-Impact Leadership Development: Best Practices, Industry Solutions, and Vendor Profiles.

The study is based on input from more than 775 organizations, as well as interviews with 40 senior HR and learning executives responsible for leadership development.

This 400+-page study is the first to examine all aspects of corporate leadership development, including program design, the role of executive sponsors, the use of external content providers, program models for different levels of leadership, measurement and evaluation techniques, and best practices in the integration of leadership development with succession planning and other talent management processes. The study includes Market Maps™ comparing breadth of topics and services, scalability, and market experience of leading leadership development vendors.

The study found that 53% of surveyed organizations now face leadership shortages, most of which are at the mid-management and director level. According to respondents, the biggest business drivers for leadership development programs are to increase the pool of internal leadership candidates (44%), to reduce gaps in leadership skills (42%), and to grow leaders more quickly (35%).

The study details Bersin & Associates Leadership Development Maturity Model™, a four-level view of corporate leadership development to help organizations create program roadmaps. Maturity levels are differentiated based on characteristics such as executive sponsorship, program curricula, audiences, and business alignment. Only 9% of companies have leadership development programs at Level 4, the highest level.

Based on self-ratings and research-based assumptions, Bersin & Associates research indicates that companies with Level 4 leadership development programs realize significant business benefits, compared to those with Level 1 programs. These include:

  • 600% increase in overall business impact from leadership development.
  • 640% improvement in leadership bench strength.
  • 480% improvement in leader engagement and retention.
  • 570% improvement in overall employee retention.

    “One of the primary findings of the study is that the business impact of leadership development programs is not determined by how much money you spend but by how the programs are designed and executed. We also found that most organizations still confuse management training with leadership development,” said Josh Bersin, president of Bersin & Associates. “This research explains these findings and provides a practical path to increasing leadership development effectiveness. It should be mandatory reading for any company interested in cultivating the next-generation of corporate leaders.”

    “We found six common best practices among organizations with high-impact leadership development programs. For instance, successful initiatives have strong executive sponsorship and engagement. The study discusses these best practices and includes case studies from leading companies to offer readers specific examples of how they can use leadership development to improve business results,” said Kim Lamoureux, senior analyst and primary author of the study. Alcatel-Lucent, Cisco, Mellon Financial, North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health Systems, and Textron are among the companies featured in the study.

In addition to profiles of leading leadership development suppliers, the study also includes a section on selection and evaluation of vendors. According to survey results, 36% of companies outsource at least 50% of their leadership development content. Only 13% do not outsource any portion of their leadership development programs. Fourteen companies are profiled in the study: AchieveGlobal, AMA (American Management Assoc.), BTS, Center for Creative Leadership, DDI, eCornell, Human Capital Institute, Impact Achievement Group, Ken Blanchard Companies, LeaderPoint, Lominger International, Ninth House, Omega Performance, SkillSoft, Targeted Learning, The Wharton School, and Vangent. Additional vendor profiles will be published in months to come.

An executive summary of High-Impact Leadership Development is available at no cost. Go to to download the summary and obtain further study details. Study findings will be presented at upcoming Bersin & Associates briefings in Baltimore on September 29 and New York City on November 28. Go to to register.

The complete study is available to Bersin & Associates research members at no additional cost. Non-members can purchase the study for $1,495 by going to

About Bersin & Associates

Bersin & Associates is the only research and advisory services firm focused solely on research in enterprise learning and talent management. Bersin & Associates’ WhatWorks® research and research-based services are designed to deliver actionable direction and to help improve operational effectiveness and business impact.

Bersin & Associates research members gain access to a comprehensive library of best practices, case studies, benchmarks, and in-depth market analyses designed to guide professionals in making fast and confident decisions. Research areas include planning and strategy, learning programs and delivery, talent management, technology and infrastructure, and measurement and analytics. Member benefits include in-depth advisory services, access to proprietary webcasts, on-site analyst visits, and strategic workshops. For more information, go to or call 561 455 0622.