A Buyer’s Guide to
“Choosing the right Leadership Development supplier for you”

How many of these questions resonate with you…?

Are you managing multiple stakeholders across your organisation and looking for their buy-in to develop themselves and their people?

Do you see pockets of really great potential within your business; that you want to nurture, grow and develop? 

Do you worry that your organisation may be falling behind your competitors in attracting and retaining inspirational leaders?

Is it important to you to find a supplier who is the right cultural fit for your organisation?

Are you looking for some thoughts and ideas about how to demonstrate ROI on your investment?

If you answered ‘yes’ to one or more of these questions then it is likely you are looking for a credible Leadership Development supplier who you can trust to deliver a brilliant project for you

But where to start?
This handy guide of 'five steps to follow' and 'three mistakes to avoid' seeks to help you through the process; so that you end up with a supplier who is right for you and right for your organisation. 

5 steps to follow

1. Write down what it is that you are looking for
It may be that you have had chance to identify where the needs are within your business. You may have an organisational competency framework or performance management process that can help you. Or it may be that you are looking for a supplier who can help you identify the need. Or maybe you have identified so many needs that you are looking for some help in how to prioritise them and where to start!
Whatever it may be – jotting it down will help you in your quest to find the right supplier
2. Think about whether you believe that this is a need for a specific person, group of individuals or an organisational need
Some organisations identify that they have a specific need for one group of people; for example a group of specialists in one area of the business who need to develop their ability in building positive working relationships or a newly formed team who will benefit from help in setting themselves up for success
Alternatively you may notice that a particular group of people right across the organisation are struggling with a common challenge; for example managers stepping into leadership roles for the first time or those leading teams through change
You may have also identified that specific individuals, maybe those identified as potential leaders of the future, need support in areas such as their personal impact
Whichever it is – add this to your notes
3. Begin to look for the right supplier for you
With your notes in hand – start talking to colleagues in other organisations, check out suppliers in your own local area and use your network to find out who other people are using and who they might recommend
Once you have a few names; take a look at their websites and online profiles (such as LinkedIn) so that you can get a feel for who they are, how they work and what they offer
Invite 2 or 3 of them in for an informal no-strings and no-commitment discussion so that you can ask them more about the services that they offer and begin to sense whether they are a good cultural fit for you and your company

Ask them if they have any events that you can attend – so that you can see them ‘in action

Our customers tell us that they look for a supplier who is:

Credible check out their qualifications and experience. Ask them what they do to keep themselves fresh and up-to-date with the latest thinking in the world of Leadership Development and how they develop themselves
Committed how will they deal with the ‘unexpected’; if you need to change a date or update the scope of the project? Do you get the sense that they would remain calm, focussed and able to accommodate your needs? How do they make you feel about their level of commitment towards you? 
Trustworthy ask them to describe how they typically work with their customers to build mutual trust. Notice how well you feel they are truly listening to you and how interested they are in genuinely understanding your needs
4. Suggest a trial project
Consider trying them out with a low-risk project within the business. Maybe a workshop or some 121 coaching. Choose the participants carefully; picking those who will provide you with honest and constructive feedback. Ask to sit in on one of the workshops or invite one of your key internal stakeholders to participate. Agree the success factors and review them honestly together
5. Once you have selected a supplier: then agree a way of working together
Discuss and agree how you would like to be kept up-to-date with progress, when you   would like to meet to review progress and what information you would like from them. Ask them what information they need from you to be able to tailor the content to your needs, relevant to your participants and incorporating your organisational language

3 mistakes to avoid!

1. Don’t forget about what happens back in the day-job
Whether it is a full 12 month Leadership Development programme that you are looking for, a 1-day workshop or some 121 coaching – you will be looking for the participants to demonstrate what they have learnt
Talk to the supplier about ideas, thoughts and options to set the participants ‘up-for-success’ so that they are easily and effectively able to transfer their new knowledge, skills and thinking into the practical reality of their day job
 2. Don’t ignore your intuition
The right cultural fit is critical in finding the right supplier and sometimes your gut feeling just ‘knows’ when they are right for you. Don’t be tempted to rush into commissioning a piece of work (whatever the pressures or temptations might be) if your instinct is telling you that they are not right. However – if you can picture the supplier in front of your teams, your stakeholders and your internal customers then they are probably the right supplier for you
 3. Don’t ignore your concerns
If there are things that are worrying you then share them. If you think that they may encounter skeptical workshop participants then raise it and ask them how they will approach this situation. If you are concerned about the budget then agree a fixed price that is all-inclusive so that there are no unexpected ‘extras’. If you are interested in demonstrating ROI (or you have a stakeholder who is!) then ask for examples of how and where you can track and demonstrate it
The Directors Guide to “Choosing the right Leadership Development supplier for you” was brought to you by The Leadership School in conjunction with our clients
If you are interested in discussing this further then get in touch with us via:

Email: hello@theleadershipschool.co.uk

Phone: 0117 251 0155

Our website: www.theleadershipschool.co.uk

Twitter: space4thinking