Three steps to putting together a successful leadership development program.
- Just ask. Before members can serve an organization in a leadership capacity, they’ve got to start volunteering, and one of the best ways to encourage people to volunteer is to ask, says Todd Emerson, president of the Atlanta Board of Realtors (ABR). “Don’t assume people know that there are opportunities, but physically get out and ask,” says Emerson, who discourages simply emailing members to volunteer. “There’s got to be a warm voice or a friendly handshake behind asking someone to donate their time.”
- Provide recognition. “The people going through this program should be lifted up,” says Scott Brunner, CAE, executive vice president of the Georgia Pharmacy Association. To enhance a program’s prestige, organizations should call attention to participants by recognizing them in publications or during a graduation ceremony at annual meetings. “That’s all a part of bringing attention to the program and a way to bring in future participants,” Brunner says.
- Create accountability. Program participants need to have something at stake to ensure their full participation. Whether that is paying tuition or a nominal fee—which for ABR’s Leadership Development Program is $100—or fulfilling an attendance requirement, the more investment you get upfront from participants, the higher levels of commitment you will see. “We feel like you’ve got to have a little skin in the game to give it a little meaning and give the program a little more value,” says Emerson, who adds that participants in the ABR program are required to attend at least eight of the nine total sessions to graduate.