A recent Deloitte study found that 56% of executives believe their companies are not ready to meet today’s leadership needs. Many companies are responding, last year spending $31 billion on leadership development programs, and since 2015 alone spending on such programs has increased by 10%.

Jesse Demmel, vice president of platform engineering at Under Armour, rewrites an old adage: “Some leaders are born. Many are made.”

But not all attempts to “make” leaders are created equal. Matt Norquist, CEO of Linkage, a global leadership development consultancy firm, says, “I think that, despite all the effort, a lot of the companies I see aren’t making sustainable progress.”

So, what are some key elements that make a leadership development strategy successful?

Structured Progression

One mistake organizations make when it comes to leadership development is sporadic or inconsistent development opportunities. For example, leaders take hour-long online seminars or employees only meet with managers at annual reviews.

Consider The Global Good Fund, a leadership development nonprofit that focuses on social entrepreneurs under 40. Once accepted into the program, the entrepreneurs or “fellows,” as they’re referred to, take a 360-degree assessment to identify their strengths and weaknesses. They’re then paired with an executive coach to create a personal leadership development plan. Over the next 12 months, they execute that plan with the help of an established business leader as their mentor. An online dashboard keeps track of the progress, and every one, three, five and 10 years after the program, fellows retake the assessment.

“Those dashboards are really prepared for them so they can see their personal leadership growth, their enterprise growth, their business growth, and social impact over time,” says co-founder Carrie Rich.

“Without structured ongoing development most of us sort of revert to our old habits; some of our habits are good and some are bad,” says Norquist. To illustrate, he uses the metaphor of learning to play the violin: “You don’t just listen to the radio and try and copy the songs,” he says. “You need to first understand how do you hold the violin, how do you hold the bow, where do you put your fingers, when do you tilt your head, when do you press harder on the strings and lighter on the strings, etc. You learn through practice, through instruction, through learning the theory behind what you’re doing.”

This is the difference between what Norquist calls “training vs. trying.” He says, “It’s not that you don’t want to put in effort, but you want the effort to be structured.”

Source: http://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2016/10/28/what-makes-a-leadership-development-strategy-successful/#3c8caea916fe