Operations Leadership Development Programs: Pros & Cons

Many large companies offer an operations leadership development program, often shortened to OLDP. Some of the big companies with such a program include:

  • Lockheed Martin
  • Cigna
  • Seimens
  • Phillips

Some of the advantages of completing such a program for new operations leaders are they 1) are company specific, 2) often offer to access to a network of ops leaders in the same industry, and 3) require no investment from the leader, other than time.

While it could be that a company like Cigna uses a 3rd party’s pre-made program or outsources the development of such a program, there’s a good chance these big companies actually develop their leader programs in house. The benefit here is obvious: the content and best practices can be specific to the actual company processes and culture. No more generic case studies and situational examples.

Moreover, a new operations manager will likely have access to other ops leaders in his or her department or even in the broader company. This means even greater insight and leveraging experience from others in a nearly identical role to yours. Now, there is a downside to this. The trade off is that the new leader only learns from what is found inside the bubble that is the company. There may be opportunities missed for learning lessons from other businesses and leaders.

operations leadership development program

The third potential advantage to a company offering their own program for leaders of operations is that the company has already paid for the cost. So, not only does the leader herself not have to shell out cold hard cash to get some learning and training, but nobody has to go try to convince the c-levels to pay for such a program. It’s already budgeted!

Downsides of an In-house Operations leadership development program

Are there any negatives?

Yes, there are some cons to a company’s own leader development course, or to having only the company’s available to their new operations managers. It’s critical that any leadership development course or training cover the most ROI-optimized leadership skills, qualities and principles.

The first downside is the lack of outside perspective. Another is the lack of ongoing coaching.

Leaders benefit by having someone outside their own company to be their wise guide. There can be greater objectivity and more honesty this way.

Also, many company programs doing include coaching, or don’t include ongoing coaching. Too often, they program is for a set period, such as three months or six months. After that, there is no longer regular coaching.