How are they doing?
It’s the question we’re always asking in training. We want to know if development is occurring among our employees – but what about those who have moved up the ladder into sales leadership positions?
Turns out they need that feedback, too. And, at Gilead Sciences, Commercial L&D has implemented what are called RD Development “Touchpoints” to help Regional Directors know how they’re progressing in professional development (note: “Regional Directors” at Gilead are equivalent to “District Managers” at many other companies).
I asked Corey Padovano, Senior Director of Commercial Learning and Development, to outline how the process works.
Corey described the three phases of training for Regional Directors that Gilead has designed; Phase 1 is focused on understanding and leading yourself; Phase 2 on leading teams/direct reports; and Phase 3 on leading across the organization. Each of those phases has appropriate courses such as Emotional Intelligence, Situational Leadership, Influence without Authority, etc.
Typically, these phases of training occur as 3-day live events, with 6-9 month periods between.
So, how to gauge progress along the way? Gilead employs a 360-degree methodology to get unbiased feedback for these “touchpoints,” including:
-3rd party conversational interview with each RD
-3rd party conversational interview with Senior RDs
-Survey to direct reports
-Survey to peers/stakeholders
This information is aggregated, then presented in a constructive way to help RDs identify levels of progress. The touchpoint process refers to specific curriculum topics and asks for ratings on a simple 3-point scale:
- Understands the material
- Applies the concepts
- Demonstrates mastery
A straightforward, 2-page report is generated. The process provides very specific feedback for Senior RDs to coach their charges, and provides the additional benefit of looping back input to the training department on how to optimize the curriculum for actual needs (business acumen and strategic thinking are popping up regularly).
Was there resistance? Some, at first – until the methodology was understood and the results generated. Now it is a much-appreciated part of the professional development process at Gilead.
With this approach now in place for RDs, future potential applications may include first-line and second-line leadership in HQ positions.
How is your company monitoring and encouraging the development of its field leadership? I’d love to hear your comments and input!
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