The Impact of a Leadership Development Certification

Unleashing Your Organizations Potential, The Impact of a Leadership Development Certification


Effective leadership is the cornerstone of organizational success. In the fast-paced and competitive business landscape of today, investing in leadership development has become imperative for organizations aiming to thrive and adapt to constant change.

A leadership development certification from the Institute of Organization Development offers a structured and strategic approach to nurturing leadership capabilities within your organization.

This article will explore the significant benefits that this certification can bring to your organization, ranging from improved performance and employee engagement to enhanced innovation and organizational resilience.

What is Leadership Development?

Leadership development is the process of enhancing and nurturing the skills, qualities, and competencies required for effective leadership. It involves systematically identifying, cultivating, and refining individuals’ abilities to lead teams and organizations toward desired goals and outcomes.
Leadership development encompasses activities such as training, coaching, mentoring, experiential learning, and self-reflection.  These are all designed to empower individuals to inspire, influence, and guide others in achieving shared objectives.

Leadership development aims to create a pipeline of capable and adaptable leaders who can navigate complex challenges, foster innovation, build high-performing teams, and drive positive change.

What is Leadership Development?

Leadership development is the process of enhancing and nurturing the skills, qualities, and competencies required for effective leadership. It involves systematically identifying, cultivating, and refining individuals’ abilities to lead teams and organizations toward desired goals and outcomes.
Leadership development encompasses activities such as training, coaching, mentoring, experiential learning, and self-reflection.  These are all designed to empower individuals to inspire, influence, and guide others in achieving shared objectives.

Leadership development aims to create a pipeline of capable and adaptable leaders who can navigate complex challenges, foster innovation, build high-performing teams, and drive positive change.

Benefits of a Certification in Leadership Development from the Institute of Organization Development

Having a certified Leadership Development Professional in your organization can offer multiple benefits. Here are some key advantages of a certification in Leadership Development from the Institute of Organization Development:

  • Expertise and Knowledge: Formal training equips participants with specialized knowledge and expertise in leadership theory, best practices, and strategies. This expertise enables them to navigate challenges, and drive organizational success effectively.
  • Credibility and Trust: Our Certification adds credibility to a leader’s credentials, signaling to colleagues, employees, and stakeholders that they have met recognized standards of proficiency in leadership. This fosters trust and confidence in their leadership abilities, enhancing their credibility as influential leaders within the organization.
  • Professional Development: Pursuing our certification demonstrates a commitment to ongoing professional development and continuous improvement. We are continually updating our material to the latest trends, research, and innovations in leadership theory and practice, which can have a huge benefit to your organization by introducing new ideas and strategies.
  • Performance Improvement: Participants are better equipped with a toolkit of leadership skills and techniques that can enhance their performance as leaders. They are better prepared to motivate teams, foster collaboration, resolve conflicts, and drive performance improvements.
  • Succession Planning: Our program focuses on identifying key positions within the organization to support succession planning efforts. This includes identifying high performers, calibration meetings, coaching, and mentoring, which help groom the next generation of leadership talent and ensure continuity in leadership effectiveness.
  • Risk Mitigation: Effective leadership is crucial for managing risks and navigating challenges in today’s complex business environment. Participants are better prepared to anticipate and address potential risks, make informed decisions, and lead the organization through periods of uncertainty or change.
  • Employee Engagement and Retention: Strong leadership is closely linked to employee engagement and satisfaction. Our certification equips, inspires, motivates, and engages OD Professionals to lead their teams to higher levels of employee morale, productivity, and retention.
  • Innovation and Creativity: Certified leadership development professionals are encouraged to think creatively and innovatively in their roles. By fostering a culture of innovation and creativity, they can drive organizational growth and competitive advantage in today’s rapidly evolving marketplace.
  • Organizational Culture and Values: Leadership plays a significant role in shaping organizational culture and reinforcing core values. We lead by example, embodying the organization’s values and fostering a positive and inclusive workplace culture.
  • External Recognition and Benchmarking: Having a Certified Leadership Professional in your Organization will provide external recognition and validation for your commitment to leadership excellence. Our certification serves as a benchmark for comparing leadership capabilities against industry standards and best practices.

Think Strategically When Developing Your Leaders

Start thinking strategically when you look at your leadership development initiatives. Every function within an organization makes things happen according to the strategic plan. This includes recruiting, talent management, onboarding, skill building, succession planning, and developing high potentials. Anything that gives you a competitive advantage is linked to developing your leaders. With this list to start with, you can see that leadership development does impact the bottom line.

Why Leadership Development Needs to Change

Organizations are experiencing a new normal, with more employees working from home. With today’s complexity, all leaders must keep expanding and growing if they want to keep moving forward. It is imperative that they develop knowledge and skills to challenge their mindset.

The leader of today needs to be prepared to work in a volatile, uncertain, changing, and ambiguous environment. What was once called change management is now leadership. This means being able to work with all age groups, all levels of diversity and inclusion, be comfortable with technology, and work across boundaries.   

We need to build a better future for our leaders. This includes preparing them to deal with critical leadership moments they face each day. This will require a plan in place for building the long-term careers and capabilities of our leaders to ensure a steady pipeline of leaders for the future.

We need to invest in the next generation of leaders. One-and-done events that are not measured or sustainable, a limited leadership pipeline, compressing learning to save time, and leaving the individual to select their own learning options are not the solutions.

So, what are you doing to prepare your leaders to engage their teams and stakeholders to meet the challenges ahead?  There is an increasing demand for leaders’ soft skills to provide effective coaching, inclusion, diversity, employee wellbeing, motivation, and communication skills that deliver business results.  Yes, we still need leaders to be technically proficient, but they also need managerial skills.  The solution is a strategic approach to leadership development. 

 A Strategic Approach to Leadership Development

So, what is a strategic approach to leadership development?  It starts assessing and identifying leadership needs that lead to the success of the organization, not just excellent programs.  Leadership development programs need to be sustainable, not just attended and done.

Before you develop any leadership development program, reach out to the eyes and ears of the people who will determine the success of your program and assess what they need, the driver, and build your objectives and deliverables around that need.  This includes Human Resources, Leaders, Customers, and Stakeholders. 

Ask yourself the question, what do the 360 assessments, exit interviews and HRS Data tell you about the need?  Start a communication process where your stakeholders are aware that you are developing a leadership initiative/program, and keep them informed through each stage of development; this will help you develop a more sustainable program.   

However it must be a program designed around meaningful leadership experiences using a variety of learning methods tied to performance.  Leadership development programs need to address self-development, advancement to a new role, and preparing leaders for specific business challenges.  A big mistake and a disservice to a leader happens when they are promoted to leadership positions without preparing them with leadership skills. This happens too often when we promote based on technical skills.

Leadership development programs need to prepare leaders to respect all age groups and levels of diversity and inclusion, be comfortable with technology, and work across boundaries. A strategic approach to leadership development starts with determining the business needs and developing a strategy with objectives that meet or exceed those needs.

Two Types of Leadership Development, Horizontal and Vertical

Horizontal Leadership Development Defined

There are two types of leadership development, horizontal and vertical.

Horizontal leadership development refers to adding more knowledge, skills, and competencies.  We expand our toolkit, gain more skills, expand our knowledge, and become more competent.  Such training could include, but is not limited to, communications training, dealing with conflict, strategic planning, and others.  Horizontal development is usually measured through 360-degree leadership assessments.  This approach has been used for over 40 years.  Horizontal leadership development is still significant to develop in the current role, but development is needed to grow leaders and survive in this ever-changing environment. To move forward and be more effective, both Vertical Leadership Development with Horizontal Leadership Development processes are needed.

Vertical Leadership Development Defined

Vertical Development is about expanding the mindset – advancing the way a person thinks and behaves.  Vertical development looks at professional maturity, emotional intelligence, and cognitive framework. It focuses on building the ability to think in a more complex, systematic, strategic, and interdependent way.  The mindset refers to the mental models we engage when thinking, as our sense of identity.  Vertical development isn’t about training a leader in skills and increasing their knowledge; it’s about transforming the ways a leader thinks, which will impact what they do and how they behave.  Vertical development challenges a leader to make changes in the way they are and then raises their self-awareness to engage in a higher level of personalized change.  Vertical development is about becoming more adaptable, more self-aware, more collaborative, and able to span boundaries and networks to significantly impact the organization and its effectiveness. 

Vertical development does not replace horizontal development. Both are equally important. In the past, however, too much attention has been paid to adding skills and methodologies and not enough to changing high-potential leaders’ mindsets and perspectives. By focusing on horizontal and vertical development, companies can develop leaders who have the wisdom to choose the right strategies and the skills and experience to implement them.  

What sets the Institute of Organization Development, Leadership Development Certified Professional (LDCP) program apart from the others?

See through the eyes of participants of the program by reviewing their testimonials. 

Testimonials from Participants

  1. What insights did you gain from attending the program?

The program lays out a process by which I can tailor design a leadership development strategy to best enable an organization to accomplish a bolder vision. By following the steps to this process, and choosing the appropriate options given, I am able to design a “leadership pipeline” that fits our company’s priorities.

  1. How did you apply what you’ve learned?

I am applying the processes of this training on two fronts. First, our goal is to take our company’s leadership pipeline model to a new level of effectiveness. Our Training Department initiated our pipeline strategy two years ago and had even won international awards by placing #7 (2019) and #6 (2020) in the Training Magazine’sTop 125 World Wide Training Program Rankings”—much due to the progress we had made in our leadership development strategies. In our desire to continue growing and improving, I am getting the LDCP to heighten the impact of our leadership development processes.

Second, I am using this process to help design a leadership development process as a community service for a non-profit organization. It is recognized as being among the top 3 largest organizations of its kind in the U.S.A. So to continue its rapid growth, I am partnering with some of their leaders to prototype a leadership pipeline that maps their levels of growth as leaders, along with character and competencies needed to succeed at each level.

  1. How did your LDCP certification benefit you in your career?

Once I completed the LDCP certification, I foresee greater opportunities to expand my consulting work to other organizations desiring to build out their leadership development processes. I will have filled up my consulting “toolbox” with a more robust and diverse set of tools that will improve the effectiveness of my service for others. Instead of relying on a pre-packaged, “one-size-fits-all” model, I can tailor-fit a leadership development model for an organization’s unique blend of culture, context, and vision.

  1. What specifically was the most valuable experience during your certification?

One of the most meaningful experiences of my LDCP certification has been my conversations with Gene Wheeler—our professor. He has taken the initiative to connect with me outside of our webinar training, listened carefully to my current priorities, demonstrated concern for my challenges, and coached me through my next steps. His commitment to see me succeed was clearly demonstrated as he went above and beyond his call of duty by giving me the resources I needed at particular stages of my projects. His personal investment in my success is taking our succession planning strategy for our managers to a new level of impact.

Thank you!  Dr. Sam Day

In summary:

A leadership development program must be strategically designed to be successful and sustainable. It must also prepare today’s leaders to meet the challenges and changes necessary to be effective in this new work environment. This includes horizontal development with increased knowledge and skills, coupled with vertical development to advance the leaders’ thinking, exam behaviors, challenge mindset, and emotional intelligence. 

Leadership development is more than throwing some PowerPoint slides together and doing a presentation.  But that is the impression for some companies, and that is why the leadership development and organizational development departments don’t have a seat at the table, and are not viewed as impacting the bottom line. 

However the leadership development programs of ten years ago are not adequate to prepare the leader of today to meet the challenges and changes necessary to be effective in this new work environment. 

Completing a Certification in Leadership Development from the Institute of Organization Development produces skilled leadership development specialists who will have a lasting impact on your organization by:

  • Playing a crucial role in identifying and nurturing talent
  • Building a strong leadership pipeline
  • Enhancing employee engagement and retention
  • Driving organizational performance
  • Fostering innovation and adaptability
  • Supporting succession planning
  • Promoting diversity and inclusion
  • Aligning leadership development with business strategy

This investment provides you with a skilled leadership development professional that can cultivate a culture of leadership excellence and position your organization for long-term success and sustainability.

If you are interested in becoming a Certified Leadership Development Professional to advance your career and build your reputation in leadership development, consider the Institute of OD’s Leadership Development Certification.   

You will also earn Continuing Education Credits – 24 HRCI and SHRM Recertification Credits.

For more information about creating a strategic approach to Leadership Development and developmental guidelines to develop  leaders for the challenges they will face in the new world of business, sign up for our 24-hour Leadership Development Certification Program (LDCP),

About the Author

Gene Wheeler is a Consultant, Educator, Public Speaker, Executive Coach, and Facilitator for Executive Coaching for the Institute of Organization Development.  He has been an adult educator and Human Resource Consultant for over 30 years, helping individuals, teams and organizations grow and strengthen human capital through recruiting, 360° and psychometric assessments, competency-based leadership development training programs, talent management, and executive coaching. He was also the director of the Air Force Leadership School, an on-campus, college accredited program for high potentials.

Click here to check out other Articles by Gene Wheeler


Get updates and learn from the best


1 2 3 5 6

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I) Strategies

DE&I consulting services focus on helping organizations foster a diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace. Consultants assess the organization's current DE&I initiatives, develop DE&I strategies and policies, conduct training on unconscious bias and cultural competence, establish employee resource groups, and guide leaders in creating inclusive leadership practices. They work with organizations to attract and retain diverse talent, create inclusive hiring processes, and implement programs that promote diversity, equity, and inclusion at all levels. DE&I consultants aim to create an environment where all employees feel valued, respected, and have equal opportunities for growth.

Organizational Development Consulting

Organizational development (OD) consulting services focus on helping leaders lead change initiatives to improving organizational effectiveness and results. Consultants work closely with leaders to assess the organization's current state, identify areas for improvement, create action plans and design interventions, and implement changes to enhance employee engagement, teamwork, leadership development, and organizational culture. They facilitate strategic planning, conduct organizational assessments, and implement initiatives such as talent management, succession planning, performance management, and employee training and development programs. OD consultants aim to align people, processes, and systems to drive sustainable organizational growth and change.

Mentoring Program

Mentoring Programs involve establishing formal or informal relationships between experienced employees (mentors) and less experienced employees (mentees) within an organization. Consultants assist organizations in designing and implementing mentoring programs that facilitate knowledge transfer, skill development, and career growth. They establish mentoring guidelines, match mentors and mentees based on specific criteria, provide training and resources for mentors, and monitor the progress of the mentoring relationships. Mentoring programs aim to enhance employee development, engagement, and retention by leveraging the expertise and wisdom of experienced professionals.

Performance Management

Performance Management involves establishing systems and processes to monitor, assess, and improve employee performance. Consultants work with organizations to design and implement performance management frameworks that align with organizational goals and values. This includes setting clear performance expectations, defining key performance indicators (KPIs), establishing regular feedback and coaching mechanisms, conducting performance evaluations, and linking performance outcomes to rewards and recognition. Performance management systems aim to drive individual and team performance, align employee efforts with organizational objectives, and support employee development.

Job Redesign/Analysis

Job Redesign/Analysis is the process of reevaluating and modifying job roles and responsibilities to optimize efficiency, productivity, and employee satisfaction. Consultants analyze existing job descriptions, tasks, and workflows to identify opportunities for improvement. They may conduct job analyses to determine essential skills, competencies, and qualifications required for each role. Based on these findings, consultants provide recommendations for job redesign, such as clarifying roles and responsibilities, redistributing tasks, and implementing automation or technology solutions to streamline processes and enhance job satisfaction.

Executive Coaching, Competency Development, 360° Feedback

Executive Coaching, Competency Development, and 360 Feedback are individual-focused strategies that aim to enhance leadership and professional effectiveness. Consultants provide executive coaching services to senior leaders, offering personalized guidance, support, and feedback to help leaders develop their strengths, address developmental areas, and enhance their leadership capabilities. Competency development involves identifying and developing specific skills and competencies required for success in particular roles or functions. 360-degree feedback involves collecting feedback from multiple sources, including peers, subordinates, and superiors, to provide a comprehensive assessment of an individual's strengths and areas for improvement.

Culture Strategies

Culture Strategies focus on shaping and transforming the organizational culture to create a positive and productive work environment. Consultants assist organizations in assessing their current culture, identifying areas for improvement, and developing strategies to align the culture with the desired values, behaviors, and goals. This may involve initiatives such as defining core values, establishing cultural norms, enhancing communication and collaboration practices, promoting diversity and inclusion, and fostering a culture of continuous learning and innovation.

Talent Management Strategies

Talent Management Strategies involve designing and implementing initiatives to attract, develop, engage, and retain top talent within an organization. Consultants work with organizations to develop comprehensive talent management strategies that encompass recruitment and selection processes, onboarding programs, performance management systems, career development frameworks, succession planning, and employee retention strategies. The goal is to ensure the organization has the right people in the right roles, with opportunities for growth and development that align with their skills and aspirations.

Career Planning/High Potentials

Career Planning/High Potentials initiatives involve designing strategies and programs to support employees in planning and advancing their careers within the organization. Consultants work with organizations to establish career development frameworks, provide guidance on career paths and progression opportunities, and assist in identifying and nurturing high-potential employees. They may offer career counseling, development planning, and training programs to enhance employees' skills, competencies, and knowledge needed for career growth. Career planning initiatives aim to engage and retain talented individuals by providing them with a clear path for advancement and professional development.

Change Management

Change management consulting services support organizations in managing and implementing significant organizational changes. Consultants help identify change management strategies and plans, assess the impact of change, and design effective communication and training programs to support employee adoption and buy-in. They work with leaders and teams to overcome resistance, address cultural and behavioral challenges, and foster a positive change culture. Change management consultants provide guidance throughout the change process, ensuring a smooth transition and successful adoption of new processes, systems, or structures.

Organization Change (OCM) Strategy

Organization Change Management (OCM) Strategy refers to the planned approach or roadmap that an organization follows to implement and manage changes within its structure, processes, technologies, or culture. OCM strategies involve identifying the need for change, setting goals, creating a plan, and executing and evaluating the change process. Organization Change Consulting involves developing and implementing effective strategies to manage and navigate organizational change. The consultant focuses on helping organizations transition smoothly from their current state to a desired future state, considering various factors such as technology advancements, market shifts, mergers and acquisitions, or internal restructuring. Consultants specializing in OCM work closely with organizational leaders to identify OCM processes and help implement a consistent approach to change management, and train internal consultants to lead change management projects and provide support throughout the change process. Consultants may develop assessments, develop communication and training programs, and provide guidance on change implementation to ensure successful organizational transitions. OCM design typically includes steps such as stakeholder analysis, communication and training plans, risk assessment, and monitoring progress to ensure a smooth transition and successful adoption of the changes.

Human Resources Strategies

Human resources (HR) consulting services assist organizations in optimizing their HR practices and processes. Consultants work with HR departments to enhance talent acquisition and retention strategies, develop compensation and benefits programs, design performance management systems, implement employee engagement initiatives, and ensure compliance with labor laws and regulations. They may also provide guidance on organizational restructuring, workforce planning, employee relations, and HR technology implementation. HR consultants help organizations align their HR practices with business objectives and create a positive and productive work environment.

Team Development Strategies

Team Development Strategies focus on improving the effectiveness and performance of teams within an organization. Consultants work with teams to enhance communication, collaboration, and decision-making processes. They facilitate team-building activities, provide training on effective teamwork and conflict resolution, and help establish clear roles and responsibilities. Team development strategies may also involve conducting assessments to identify team dynamics and strengths, and designing interventions to improve team cohesion, trust, and productivity.

Employee Engagement Strategies

Employee Engagement Strategies aim to create a work environment where employees feel motivated, committed, and connected to the organization. Consultants assist organizations in measuring employee engagement levels, identifying factors that influence engagement, and developing strategies to enhance it. These strategies may include initiatives such as fostering a positive work culture, improving communication and recognition practices, providing opportunities for growth and development, promoting work-life balance, and empowering employees to contribute their ideas and opinions. The goal is to create a work environment that fosters high employee morale, satisfaction, and productivity.

Leadership Development Strategies

Leadership Development Strategies focus on cultivating effective leaders within an organization. Consultants work with organizations to assess leadership capabilities, identify leadership gaps, and design leadership development programs that enhance leadership skills, competencies, and behaviors. These strategies may include executive education, coaching and mentoring programs, leadership training workshops, and succession planning initiatives. The aim is to build a strong leadership pipeline and foster a culture of leadership excellence throughout the organization.

Organization Design/Redesign

Organization Design or Redesign refers to the process of structuring an organization to align its structure, roles, processes, and systems with its strategic objectives. It involves reviewing and potentially revising elements such as reporting lines, departmental structure, job roles and responsibilities, decision-making processes, and overall organizational hierarchy to optimize efficiency, coordination, and effectiveness within the organization, ensuring that it is well-positioned to achieve its goals. Organization Systems Design or Redesign consulting focuses on designing or restructuring the systems and processes within an organization to optimize efficiency, effectiveness, and overall performance. This service involves analyzing existing organizational systems, such as workflows, communication channels, decision-making processes, and information management systems, to identify areas for improvement. Consultants work closely with organizational leaders to redesign these systems, incorporating best practices, automation, and streamlining processes to enhance productivity and achieve organizational goals. They may also provide recommendations on implementing new technologies or software to support the redesigned systems and ensure successful integration within the organization.

Organization Culture Change/Transformation

Organization Culture Change or Transformation involves deliberately altering the beliefs, values, behaviors, and norms that define the culture of an organization. Organization Culture Change consulting involves assisting organizations in transforming their existing culture or establishing a new desired culture within the organization. The organizational culture encompasses shared values, beliefs, behaviors, and norms that shape the way people work and interact within an organization. Culture change consultants help organizations identify their current culture, define the desired culture, and create strategies to bridge the gap between the two. They may conduct cultural assessments, facilitate workshops and training programs, develop communication strategies, and provide guidance to leaders and employees on how to align their behaviors and practices with the desired culture. This change is typically aimed at aligning the organizational culture with the company's vision, mission, and strategic objectives. Culture change initiatives often require a shift in leadership style, employee engagement, communication practices, and organizational practices to create a new cultural environment that supports desired outcomes such as increased collaboration, innovation, or adaptability.

Systems Design

Systems Design refers to the process of creating or modifying the systems and processes within an organization to optimize efficiency, productivity, and effectiveness. It involves analyzing the existing systems, identifying areas for improvement, and designing new systems or reconfiguring existing ones to meet organizational goals. Systems design may include aspects such as technology infrastructure, software applications, data management, workflow processes, and automation to enhance operational performance and streamline organizational activities.

Strategic Planning

Strategic Planning is the process of defining an organization's direction, setting goals, and formulating action plans to achieve those goals. It involves assessing the organization's current state, identifying opportunities and challenges, and developing strategies to effectively allocate resources and achieve the desired outcomes. Strategic planning typically includes analyzing the external environment, conducting internal assessments, setting objectives, formulating strategies, and establishing a framework for monitoring and adapting to changes in the business landscape. Strategy consulting services focus on assisting organizations in formulating and implementing strategic plans to achieve their long-term objectives. Strategy consultants also help organizations align their vision, mission, values, processes, and organizational structure with the strategic goals.

Succession Planning

Succession Planning is the process of identifying and developing internal talent to fill key leadership positions within an organization when they become vacant. Consultants work with organizations to create succession planning strategies that align with the organization's long-term goals. They assess the current talent pool, identify high-potential employees, and design development programs to groom them for future leadership roles. Succession planning may involve creating development plans, providing leadership training, and implementing strategies to ensure a smooth transition when key positions need to be filled.