Wednesday, March 12, 2014

What is a Leadership Development Program?

A Leadership Development Program (LDP) is a great way to parlay your leadership skills in your next career.  LDPs  are  specifically  designed  for Junior Military Officers who have a strong  track  record of performance and geographic flexibility, and that are looking to progress to the upper echelons of management. As you progress through the LDP, you will gain valuable experience needed to lead and succeed at the highest levels within the organization, as well as gain exposure to various business units within the company in order to increase your knowledge base. LDPs offer rotational opportunities, hands-on   mentoring, classroom development, and varied assignments.

Due to the overall level of training and vast resource commitment provided by a company, LDP opportunities are not as common as traditional management, engineering or sales opportunities.  Presently, only a small percentage of companies offer these resource intensive programs.

Listed below are some of the most common positions available to transitioning military officers in the Engineering field:

Operations Leadership Development Program: Typical operations LDPs will require new team members to complete initial training, rotate through various operational facilities for both on the job training and curriculum based training, and work with LDP mentors on a periodic basis.  Some Operations LDPs will require you to rotate through various business units as well, to gain exposure to marketing, finance, sales, and other roles. This provides the understanding of the business you will need to function as a future leader in the organization, but may also result  in  helping you find your niche within  the organization. After completing this type of LDP, you will be assigned a permanent role in operations.

Sales & Marketing Development Program: A Sales and Marketing Development Program can start an exciting career within a   company.   This   structured   program combines   various   business   and   technical   learning workshops,   networking opportunities with various levels of the organization, and separate job rotation assignments.  Rotations typically include a field sales assignment, a marketing assignment, and other various business unit assignments. Participants receive hands-on mentoring, travel opportunities, classroom development, and networking opportunities.

Engineering  Development  Program: Engineering  Development  Program (EDP) participants  are  typically placed  at  a manufacturing  plant  or oil and gas refinery for training.  During  this  time,  the  participant will  be mentored  by seasoned technical professionals and motivated by the vast technical challenges found in these environments. Examples of formal training include: safety leadership, manufacturing processes and product, applied statistics, and leadership development. At the conclusion of training, EDP graduates are placed in a full-time assignment as a Manufacturing or Project Engineer.

From  these  roles, you can expect to move into more senior leadership roles of increasing responsibility and ultimately into executive leadership positions within a company.  Due to the versatility of the skill-set gained through Leadership Development   Programs   (LDP), your   skills   are   transferable   across   Corporate America.

Generally, the key to a successful Leadership Development Program interview is to focus on track record of performance and your most significant achievements throughout your career. Focus on relevant examples from your past that are translatable in your new work environment. Specific examples (with places and names) add depth and meaning to your answers. Here are some additional points of focus during a Leadership Development Program interview:

  • Have a game plan. Anticipate the questions you will be asked, and prepare your answers in advance.
  • Focus on your track record of performance. Give good examples to show that you have the ability to succeed in whatever you do.
  • Focus on the skills needed for the LDP. Stress your leadership, sales aptitude, or technical experience.
  • Focus on your growth/promotion potential. Your leadership skills are important, but so is your ability to learn and grow.
  • Show them that you are interested in the role. Emphasize your work ethic, willingness to learn, and ability to succeed.
  • Let them know you are flexible and open to relocate. Geographic flexibility is essential to most Leadership Development Programs.
Orion is currently recruiting for Leadership Development Programs with Medtronic and Michelin. Click here to learn more about the Sales Development Program with Medtronic. Click here to learn more about the Leadership Development Rotation Program with Michelin.

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