Case Study

Developing High Potential Leaders in China

Leadership Development Program for High Potential Leaders in China


  • Company had been struggling for years new CEO was turning things around.
  • New HR VP wanted to implement a program to develop the next generation of leaders at the Director and Senior Director level.
  • There was a pressing need to develop senior Chinese leaders as the firm was pushing for localization.
  • There was a pressing need to help the high potential leaders develop:

    • Great self-awareness
    • The ability to effectively lead teams
    • The ability to communicate effectively in front of senior leaders from both China and the USA
    • The ability to lead accross functions


  • Our approach was to develop a leadership development program split into four key modules:

    • Leading Myself
    • Communicating with Impact
    • Leading the Team
    • Leading the Organization
  • Program included:

    • One on one coaching of each participants by facilitators
    • Interventions by Senior Executives in each module
    • Action Learning Assignments
    • On line testing and measurement after each module
    • Briefing of the senior leadership team after each module to explain outcomes and the support required


  • Measurement consisted of:

    1. Testing and survey between modules
    2. After Action Reviews at the end of each module
    3. Comprehensive survey of managers and participants 1 year after the end of the program
  • Key results:
  • In the two groups we did:
  • 94% agreed or strongly agreed that knowledge of Leadership and Management had increase
  • 90% said the applied a significant portion of training at work
  • 90% report increase in self-awareness
  • 62% report change in behavior

Leadership Development Program for High Potential Leaders - 12 — Month

In Class Sessions
(3 Days Each)

Leading Self

How personality shapes behaviors and what they can be do to enhance personal effectiveness as leaders.

Communication with Impact

How to command attention, organize information, and produce powerful presentations to be more convincing and able to influence

Leading Others

How to develop a clear, simple, and systematic approach to leading a team.

Leading the Organization

How to understand the key elements to effectively lead an organization.

Action Learning Assignments


In Person
Manager Briefings


One on One Coaching
with Facilitator


OnLine Testing and Measurement


Leadership Development Program for High Potential Leaders — Module Content

Leading Self

  • Self awareness - Who am I and how does that impact my leadership?

  • Facet5 Personality test - What are my personality preferences

  • What it means to lead - Exploring effective leadership

  • Conflict resolution and decision making - using tested methods

  • Followership - Why good followership leads to good leadership

  • Derailment - Why most executives derail and how to prevent it

Communication with Impact

  • Organizing Information: How to synthesize and simplify information

  • Structuring a presentation: What is the ideal structure of a presentation

  • Distinctive and integrative: What makes presentations unique and memorable

  • Handling Questions: How to appropriately handle questions and objections both during and after presentation

  • Negotiating and closing: Understanding how effective presenters get what they want

Leading Others

  • Teambuilding: basics of building the team - What must a leader do to build an effective team

  • Delegating: Understanding appropriate techniques for delegation

  • Motivating the team: External and internal motivators

  • Leading up: How to best work with my superiors to achieve objectives

  • Feedback and Coaching: Using feedback and coaching to motivate my team

Leading the Organization

  • Developing Strategy: Vision Mission and Values - How to develop the strategic vision for an organization

  • Strategic Planning - Turning vision into concrete plans for the business

  • Identifying Rogue Leaders - Identifying and dealing with difficult leaders

  • Leading Leaders - How to effectively lead your successors

  • Managing Change - How to effectively manage a changing environment

Leadership Development Program for High Potential Leaders — Method


Interactive Workshops

  • Mini-lectures
  • Discussions
  • Flip chart exercises
  • Videos
  • Team activities
  • Reflection time
  • Case studies

Interactive Tools and Kits



  • After Action Reviews
  • Feedback Sheets


  • Templates
  • Methodologies
  • Cases
  • Articles
  • Checklists
  • Feedback sheets

Homework and Projects

  • Action Learning Assignment after each module
  • Action Learning Project after Building Talent Module


  • In-Between Modules Test and Survey
  • End of Program Survey (1 year after program end)


Results of survey conducted one year after end of program

The questions are designed to measure three key areas:

  • Retention and application of knowledge in the workplace
  • Increases in self awareness and changes in behavior
  • Impact on business results


  • "Following each module, had trainings with subordinates, motivated them to pass and have similar training meetings with their subordinates”
  • “I have passed on feedback and coaching section to Hyper operation management team. more than 2000 managers”
  • “I spent a lot of time on this topic. Being self aware has made me know my strengths better as well as areas that I should watch about my personality. This has helped me improve both at work and on a personal front.”
  • “Previously, when I dealt with crisis, I was always almost the first one to speak. Now, to avoid bias, I set a rule for myself, I will speak after three people spoke”

The key direct benefits of the development program shown by the surveys are:

  • Increased understanding of management and leadership and application of this knowledge in the workplace.
  • Very clear transfer of learning to teams creating a multiplier effect of the development program.
  • Increased self-awareness and self control.
  • Change in behaviour leading to self-reported better leadership and management of teams.
  • Improved business results for the teams and some evidence of impact on company results.
  • Increased cross functional collaboration.
  • Increased resilience amongst the teams reporting to the participants.
  • A common language relating to leadership issues.

Success Factors

1. Program design and delivery

  • The four module approach over 12 months
  • The mix of content and practice in the workshops
  • The two facilitator approach, which participants consistently reported was central to their enjoyment and engagement in the program.
  • The individual coaching program for each participant, supported by Individual Development Plans.
  • The use of After Action Reviews and feedback sheets after each module to allow feedback from participants to be included in module design.
  • The Action Learning Assignments after each module.
  • The team based Action Learning Program.
  • The briefings on content conducted after each module for the participants’ managers.

Success Factors

2. Support from the client

  • A clear statement of need from the SVP HR before program design.
  • Strong support from the HR team throughout the program design process.
  • A strong opening ceremony from the CEO and the Exco team.
  • High quality of production of the materials/manuals for the program.
  • Support from Exco members for their direct reports attending the program, with follow up sessions conducted and appropriate advice/support given.
  • Exco members attending the workshops to present on areas related to the content, and attending informal evening ‘get-togethers’ to know the participants better.
  • Support from the HR team by running sessions in between workshops to check on progress with Action Learning Projects.
  • The provision of high quality venues, including catering and refreshments, reinforcing for the participants the importance of the process.
  • A strong closing program run by the CEO with support from Exco members.