Talent Development

Talent Development Program


Our client, a global manufacturer of products for the home improvement and new home construction markets recognized that the retention of high performers was critical to the future of their business. Like many other organizations they also recognized that their strategy for retaining high performers needed to involve a program that provided these people with clear and explicit recognition of their potential, along with opportunities to prepare for future advancement. They needed an inspiring aspirational program that would enable future leaders to develop a greater theoretical and practical understanding of the key areas of competence that would enable them to become successful leaders within the organization. This program was seen as critical to the company’s future success as it would combine a strong talent retention strategy with increasing the funnel of leaders ready to assume more senior roles in the organization.

The Challenge:

This organization is a global conglomerate comprising of more than 20 companies operating in 80 manufacturing facilities across the United States and Europe. The executive team wanted this talent development program to be an important part of a strategic drive to promote greater collaboration across the group. To fulfill this aim the program needed to be able to integrated potential leaders from many different countries into a yearlong program that provided them with the highest possible levels of training while they still performed their normal functions within the organization. It was also seen as critical that the program feature a strong element of practical application as well as theoretical understanding.

The company had identified thirteen areas of competence that they wanted to have covered during this program. They had divided these in seven thematic competencies which would be coached continuously throughout the year and six supporting competencies:

Main thematic competencies Supporting competencies

Innovation Management


Strategic Agility

Drive for Results

Dealing with Ambiguity

Decision Quality

Managerial Courage

Organizational Agility

Managing Vision and Purpose

Business Acumen

Developing Direct Reports and Others

Process Management

Customer Focus


The Solution:

The groups HR and L&D departments worked closely with an Illustra team to design and deliver a virtual program that would enable potential leaders to enter into a yearlong coaching dialogue with leading thinkers and practitioners from around the world in each of the key areas of competence. Taking advantage of Illustra’s global virtual faculty participants were able to gain an understanding of the established knowledge base associated with each competence and then explore the latest breakthrough thinking. Across the year they were provided with opportunities to put these insights into practice and review, refine and develop their skills and understanding.

To fulfill the need for a strong experiential component within the program participants were divided into cross-divisional teams to work on corporate wide action learning projects that had been identified by senior executives as important to the future of the business. These projects were designed to enable potential leaders to enhance their own skills, levels of motivation, self-confidence and value to the company. As they worked on these projects, participants were coached and assessed against a framework of learning objectives based on the 7 main thematic competencies of the program. The work they did on these projects formed the focus of regular virtual coaching and review sessions, which took place during monthly Leadership Checkpoints. Projects were assigned to provide participants with visibility and exposure to CEO’s and other executives, provide them with the opportunity to collaborate with colleagues from other Operating Companies and to allow them to get involved in different areas of the business so they could broaden their scope and functional expertise.


The program was structured around three virtual Leadership Boot Camps that took place across a period of twelve months and a series of monthly virtual Leadership Check Points. This live virtual program enabled individuals from within this geographically dispersed organizations to access the highest possible levels of training and coaching expertise at the minimum cost in terms of money and time away from work.

Leadership Boot Camps

The leadership boot camps consisted of 4 x 4 hour virtual workshops that took place across a week. During the first Kick Off Bootcamp all of the main competencies were be introduced so that they could be further developed and explored across the whole period of the program.

Leadership Checkpoints

During the 4 hour virtual checkpoints participants further explored one of the key areas of competence and also one of the supporting competencies. This more in depth exposure to each competency involved case examples, reference material, role/play and simulation tasks. Time was allotted in each checkpoint to review the action learning projects with particular reference to the application of the 7 main thematic competencies of the program.

One on One Coaching

Across the year each participant was provided with opportunities for one on one coaching with the lead coaches from the program

The Result:

This innovative virtual talent development program succeeded in providing the organization with a cost effective way of opening up a funnel of potential leaders ready to assume more senior roles in the organization. It also enabled potential leaders from across all of the 20 companies of the group to come together and work on initiatives that have driven greater collaboration across the entire organization. By providing high potential employees with the opportunity to be in coaching relationships with leading thinkers from around the world the program enabled them to feel valued and cultivated by the organization. The program has also contributed to growing cultures of forward thinking innovation within many different areas of the business.

What Participants Say

  • Very effective. Great to be able to question my own actions. Very thought provoking. Changed my ways of working.
  • First time in my experience that virtual workshops worked so well (instructors, tools, agenda, timing). Thank you very much.
  • I’m positively surprised after this course and it exceeded my expectations.
  • Exciting and very good experience. Will recommend it to colleagues. Great to meet colleagues from other countries.
  • The interaction worked well. Dealing with innovation in this structured manner was particularly good.
  • Super! It was my first video training and it was really very good! I enjoyed it a lot and I think it was really useful.