Get Instant Access
to This Blueprint

Learning And Development icon

Succeed as a CHRO With a Leadership Development Program

Take ownership of your development to lead your organization into tomorrow.

  • Many CHROs are unprepared for the increasing demands and complexity of the role. If CHROs don’t prioritize their own development to meet expectations and support their organization, they risk falling behind.
  • However, it is often difficult for CHROs to find time in their busy schedules, overcome feelings of vulnerability, and/or adopt a dynamic learning mindset. These barriers often prevent CHROs from prioritizing their own leadership development.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • In an environment of constant disruption, HR leaders require key CHRO competencies to support their organizations.
  • A planful approach is required to keep personal leadership development off the backburner and help the organization navigate change and succeed.

Impact and Result

  • Adopt a planful approach to creating a professional development plan to overcome common barriers. Scheduling time for development, aligning with organizational strategy, and owning personal growth are key to prioritizing and following through on your development.
  • Build a customized HR executive training plan to focus your development on key competencies that will support your success and maximize impact on your organization.

Succeed as a CHRO With a Leadership Development Program Research & Tools

2. Create your CHRO development plan

Identify development opportunities and build a development plan.

3. Implement and plan for continuous development

Become accountable for development plans, assess effectiveness, and continually update the plan.


Succeed as a CHRO With a Leadership Development Program

Take ownership of your development to lead your organization into tomorrow.

Executive Summary

McLean & Company Insight

In an environment of constant disruption, CHROs require key competencies to support their organizations. A planful approach is required to keep personal development off the backburner and help the organization navigate change and succeed.

Situation

  • Industry disruption, organizational complexity, technological changes, and external risks are continuing to change the world of work and, as a result, the role of the CHRO.
  • CHROs are being met with increased expectations and are playing a larger strategic role to help their organizations successfully navigate this ever-changing environment.

Complication

  • Many CHROs are unprepared for the increasing demands and complexity of the role. CHROs who don’t prioritize their own development to meet expectations and support their organization risk falling behind.
  • However, it is often difficult for CHROs to find time, overcome feelings of vulnerability, and/or adopt a dynamic learning mindset. These barriers often prevent CHROs from prioritizing their own development.

Solution

  • Adopt a planful approach to creating a development plan to overcome common barriers. Scheduling time for development, aligning with organizational strategy, and owning personal growth are key to prioritizing and following through on your development.
  • Build a customized plan to focus CHRO development on key competencies that will support personal success and maximize impact on the organization.

In an increasingly disruptive world, the nature of work is changing rapidly

Industry disruption

Seventy-three percent of executives predict significant industry disruption in the next three years, which will further transform skills needed in the future (Mercer, 2019).

Organizational complexity

The yearly number of mergers and acquisitions worldwide has nearly doubled since 2002, resulting in increasingly complex organizations (IMAA, 2020).

Technological changes

The changing division of work between humans, machines, and algorithms will displace 75 million current jobs while creating 133 million new jobs (World Economic Forum, 2018).

External risks

The COVID-19 pandemic has had severe, negative impacts on the global economy while simultaneously accelerating digitalization, resulting in vast amounts of change and uncertainty for organizations.

These changes are impacting the role of the CHRO

CHROs are expected to play a much larger role in determining strategic direction and partnering with the organization than ever before. What the CHRO needs to do is constantly changing so it is more important than ever for CHROs to be proactive rather than reactive about their own development, or risk falling behind.

This changing environment requires a new leadership approach the CHRO must model

McLean & Company has identified five key elements of leadership to promote success in this context:

This is how we expect leaders to challenge themselves in today’s world. A diagram with 'Integrated Leadership' at the center, four actions pointing to the center and a fifth action below. On the 'Prepare to lead' side are 'Be Planful' and 'Learn to Learn'. ON the 'Create space to lead' side are 'Distribute Leadership' and 'Activate Networks'. After all of these actions comes 'Incorporate Influence' at the bottom.
This will enable influence to be the true driver of behavior rather than authority, inspiration, or control.
By pausing, planning, and focusing on cognitive learning processes, a leader can prepare to lead.
In the current environment, it’s key for leaders to reduce the power distance between themselves and their followers. By relinquishing control, allocating leadership tasks, and connecting knowledge, a leader can create space for others to lead.
—› ‹—

For more information on this model and its five elements, see McLean & Company’s Integrated Leadership blueprint.

Yet few CHROs are prepared for the changing expectations and demands of their role

Only one in three CEOs believe that today’s CHROs are prepared to adapt to future complexity of the role and effectively support the organization (HRPS et al., 2020).

Many CHROs are struggling to be proactive. Only…

  • 18% of today's CHROs are prepared to reskill their workforce as the nature of work continues to change (HRPS et al., 2020).
  • 36% of CHROs are prepared to project and analyze the impact of technology on the future world of work (World Economic Forum, 2019).
  • 8% of CHROs believe their HR strategy is effective, even though 84% are accountable and responsible for the area (McLean & Company Management & Governance Diagnostic, 2020; N=37).

McLean & Company Insight

Although the CHRO is responsible for upskilling and reskilling the workforce to keep pace with constant change, they often struggle to prioritize their own development. As the CHRO risks falling behind, so too does the organization.

There are barriers that often prevent CHROs from prioritizing their own development

Lack of time
CHROs’ busy schedules and strong focus on the development of the rest of the organization often means personal development is pushed aside.
Fear of vulnerability
Personal development is often seen as an admission of weakness and it’s difficult to risk vulnerability as CHRO, especially without support from the rest of the C-suite.
Fixed mindset
Executive roles require a high level of experience and expertise, often leading to the assumption there is no further need for development at this point in one’s career.

A planful approach is key to overcoming these barriers

Planning ahead by scheduling time for personal development and keeping your commitment to the plan prevents development from being put on the backburner and forgotten. Creating a development plan that aligns with organizational strategy frames development as driving organizational goals rather than fixing weaknesses. Furthermore, it highlights the importance of development to the rest of the C-suite. Actively working to adopt a dynamic learning mindset by owning growth ultimately makes for a better leader. A culture of continuous learning and support from the rest of the C-suite is key and ensures this behavior is modeled from the top.

Keep in mind there is no standard development plan that can be applied to all CHROs. CHROs come from a variety of backgrounds, with approximately one in five CHROs having no prior HR experience (Upchurch, 2020).

Each CHRO therefore has unique development needs based on both personal experience and organizational context and requires a customized plan.

McLean & Company’s Executive Counselor Program pairs you with a trusted executive counselor who provides additional support in overcoming these barriers and helps you thoughtfully create a development plan to fit your needs.

Focusing on key competencies will benefit the CHRO and the organization

This blueprint describes the process of creating a development plan for CHROs and how McLean & Company can support you. The focus will be on key competencies that will benefit both the CHRO and the organization.

Focusing on executive learning and development positively impacts:

  • Organizational financial performance
  • Talent retention
  • Organizational adaptability and success through change (Center for Creative Leadership)

McLean & Company has identified the following competencies as essential for today’s CHRO:

A fan diagram of 'CHRO-specific' competencies above a block of 'Foundational Strategic HR Competencies', connected in the center by circle 'Impactful CHRO'. CHRO-specific competencies are 'Culture Management', 'Change Management', 'Risk Management', 'People Leadership', 'Influence', 'Strategic Leadership & Execution'. HR competencies are 'Organizational Awareness', 'Business Acumen', 'Data Literacy', and 'Relationship Building'.

CHRO-specific:

These competencies incorporate the elements of integrated leadership and are key to leading strategically and successfully in today’s ever-changing environment. High proficiency in competencies relating to strong leadership, future-focus, driving strategy, and navigating uncertainty are key to ensuring the CHRO, and thus the organization, won’t fall behind.

Foundational Strategic HR Competencies:

These competencies are essential for all of HR to develop to act strategically.

In this blueprint you will focus your development on the competencies that will maximize your impact as CHRO based on your unique context.

Use McLean & Company’s Systematically Develop Your HR Department blueprint for information on developing these four competencies throughout HR.

Create a development plan to maximize impact as a CHRO

1. Identify personal CHRO development priorities 2. Create a personal CHRO development plan 3. Implement and plan for continuous development
Best-Practice Toolkit
  • 360 Feedback Diagnostic
  • 360 Feedback Interpretation Worksheet
  • CHRO Competency Prioritization
  • Learning Methods Catalog
  • CHRO Personal Leadership Development Plan
  • HR Development Activities Catalog
  • CHRO Personal Leadership Development Plan
After completing this step you will have:
  • Prioritized competencies to develop based on organizational and personal needs
  • Assessed current proficiency levels
  • Identified relevant development opportunities you’re currently engaged in
  • Selected additional development opportunities
  • Built a personal development plan
  • Determined how to hold yourself accountable for your development
  • Prepared to assess development effectiveness
  • Planned to continually update your development plan

With McLean & Company’s Counselor Membership, you’ll have access to an Executive Counselor who will support you through our CHRO Leadership Development Program. In this program, your trusted Executive Counselor will work with you to make your personal and professional development a priority. They’ll be with you every step of the way through this blueprint to help you develop and achieve your personal and professional goals.

For more information on the CHRO Leadership Development Program, see Appendix I.

Step 1

Identify personal CHRO development priorities

1. Identify personal CHRO development priorities2. Create a personal CHRO development plan3. Implement and plan for continuous development
Best-Practice Toolkit
  • 360 Feedback Diagnostic
  • 360 Feedback Interpretation Worksheet
  • CHRO Competency Prioritization
  • Learning Methods Catalog
  • CHRO Personal Leadership Development Plan
  • HR Development Activities Catalog
  • CHRO Personal Leadership Development Plan
After completing this step you will have:
  • Prioritized competencies to develop based on organizational and personal needs
  • Assessed current proficiency levels
  • Identified relevant development opportunities you’re currently engaged in
  • Selected additional development opportunities
  • Built a personal development plan
  • Determined how to hold yourself accountable for your development
  • Prepared to assess development effectiveness
  • Planned to continually update your development plan

Review descriptions of the key CHRO competencies

CHRO-specific

  • Culture Management – Models the organization's values and reinforces the desired culture in support of organizational goals.
  • Change Management – Adjusts thinking and behavior to resiliently face change. Enables transitions while helping others deal with the effects of change.
  • Risk Management – Assesses and mitigates the degree of risk in plans or actions.
  • People Leadership – Empowers people to achieve organizational goals. Creates space for others to lead.
  • Influence – Impacts others' thinking, decisions, or behavior through inclusive practices and relationship building. Drives action through influence, often without authority.
  • Strategic Leadership & Execution – Thinks beyond the immediate situation and explores multiple potential paths. Ensures organizational goals are met by executing, monitoring, and adjusting organizational action plans.

Foundational Strategic HR Competencies

  • Organizational Awareness – Understands and aligns actions with the organization's goals, core functions, needs, and values.
  • Business Acumen – Uses knowledge of the organization, the industry, and finance to address organizational needs.
  • Data Literacy – Identifies, collects, interprets, and acts on information and insight from relevant data.
  • Relationship Building – Develops internal and external professional relationships to build value through collaboration.

Competencies have proficiency levels consisting of behavior statements that describe what the competency looks like when exhibited.

See Appendix II for more information on each competency, including detailed descriptions and associated behavior statements.

Examine organizational needs to identify where personal development will have the biggest impact

Just as any leadership development should be aligned with organizational strategy, aligning your development plan with the strategy and needs of the organization maximizes the impact of CHRO development both personally and professionally.

Start by refreshing your knowledge of organizational goals and needs with the following techniques:

Examining existing strategic documents:
  • Organizational strategic plan
  • Departmental strategic plans
  • D&I strategy
  • Talent acquisition strategy
  • L&D strategy
  • Mission, vision, values
  • External factors and industry trends

Review these documents to refresh yourself on the overall organizational strategy and goals, along with the strategies of relevant HR programs.

Soliciting feedback from executive team and functional leaders:

Develop a clear understanding of your HR team’s current alignment with the organization, determine stakeholders’ expectations, and promote trust and partnership with the executive team.

Reviewing other available analyses:
  • SWOT analysis
  • PESTLE analysis

Examine existing analyses for more in-depth and detailed information, or to augment information that may be otherwise lacking.

Document key organizational goals or needs in tab 1 of the CHRO Competency Prioritization tool.

Note: It is not necessary to complete all activities. Review as much information as needed to gain a deeper perspective of the organization’s strategy and associated needs to focus personal development on the most relevant areas.

Prioritize competencies for development based on organizational and personal needs

To ensure the most effective use of time, focus development efforts on the competencies that will have the biggest impact on organizational and personal growth by selecting competencies for the following two categories:

  1. Competencies that you are interested in developing personally for broader career goals.
  2. Competencies that have the biggest impact on driving organizational goals or meeting organizational needs.
  3. Use tab 1 of the CHRO Competency Prioritization tool to help identify the competencies that impact the greatest number of organizational goals and/or needs.

    Select the competencies that, when combined, impact most or all goals and needs.

    Sample of the CHRO Competency Prioritization tool, Tab 1.

The number of competencies selected for personal vs. organizational benefit will vary. Customize the development focus for your unique context.

E.g. If you need buy-in from executives, ensure your development is highly aligned with organizational needs. Be able to articulate how selected competencies impact and drive organizational strategy and goals.

For each prioritized competency, select a maximum of five behavior statements that best align with your context and development needs.

Meet with your direct leader and/or trusted advisor to verify that your prioritized competencies and behaviors sufficiently support and align with the strategic direction and objectives of the organization.

McLean & Company Insight

Aligning with organizational priorities inherently creates internal development opportunities that are a win-win, providing benefit to both the individual and the organization.

Use McLean & Company’s 360 tool to assess your current proficiency against prioritized competencies

Use McLean & Company’s 360 Feedback diagnostic to gain feedback from key stakeholders (manager, direct and indirect reports, and peers) and perform a self-evaluation on your performance of the prioritized competencies and associated behavior statements.

  • Select at least three raters per rater category (e.g. peers, direct reports) with 10 to 20 raters overall for effective results. Answers from groups with fewer than three respondents will be combined with another group to preserve anonymity.
  • Include individuals who you have both positive and challenging relationships with to prevent skewed ratings.
  • The responses will enable you to identify areas of strength and opportunities for improvement to build out your development plan.

See Appendix III for a feedback request email template to use when approaching raters for feedback.

After collecting feedback, identify:

  • Unknown strengths – Competencies which rater groups rated higher than you rated yourself.
  • Blind spots – Competencies which rater groups rated lower than you rated yourself.
  • Inconsistencies – Significant rating discrepancies that exist among rater groups. These may require follow-up discussions.

Use McLean & Company’s CHRO 360 Feedback Interpretation Worksheet to help analyze and interpret the data.

  • Document strengths: competencies or behaviors that scored high and should be leveraged and continued to be developed.
  • Document areas of improvement: competencies or behaviors that scored low and should be developed to improve.

McLean & Company Insight

Collecting feedback is the easy part – actioning it is harder but integral to personal development. Be sure to follow through on your commitment to prioritize personal development by taking the time to properly interpret and act on the feedback received to create impact.

Review personal 360-degree feedback with a trusted advisor

With McLean & Company’s counselor membership:
  • Share feedback with your personal Executive Counselor first. As a confidential and trusted advisor, your executive counselor will help with the interpretation of feedback and determining next steps.
  • After discussing results with your Executive Counselor, you may decide to share them with your direct leader as well or move straight on to building out the development plan with your counselor.
Without a counselor membership:
  • Share feedback with your direct leader and ask for suggestions on development activities they recommend you undertake.
  • Sharing all of your feedback and revealing opportunities for improvement to your direct leader may make you feel uncomfortable and vulnerable.
    • If this is the case, share selectively. Talk about your priorities, but don’t feel obligated to inform them of all of the feedback you received.
    • Lean on another trusted advisor. A mentor or coach will help have an honest and open discussion about your feedback and next steps for development.

Set measurable development goals and identify links to organizational goals

Sample development goals Link to HR and/or organizational goals Metrics
Change management:
  • Successfully develop and manage two change projects within the organization.
  • Improve change adoption rates throughout the organization to ensure large organizational changes (e.g. growing into new markets) succeed.
  • Number of change management projects completed
  • Change adoption rate
  • Change in 360 Degree Survey feedback around proficiency levels
  • Engagement Survey feedback
Culture management:
  • Build knowledge of diversity, equity, and inclusion practices and integrate into organizational values.
  • Increase visibility within the organization to be a better role model of organizational values.
  • Embed diversity, equity, and inclusion into the company culture through reinforcement of company values to increase engagement of protected groups.
  • Improve the M&A process through the integration of organizational values to drive organizational growth.
  • EXM score of protected groups
  • Engagement score of newly acquired employees
Strategic leadership & execution:
  • Build internal networks with organizational leaders to increase collaboration during strategic planning.
  • Enhance ability to build strong business cases for initiatives and resource allocation.
  • Reduce projected talent gaps by working with leaders to increase the number of critical roles with succession plans.
  • Increase productivity and efficiency of HR and ensure efficient use of resources.
  • Percentage of critical positions with a talent pool
  • Operating costs

Document goals, links, and metrics (both personal and HR/organizational) in the CHRO Personal Leadership Development Plan.

Step 2

Create a personal CHRO development plan

1. Identify personal CHRO development priorities2. Create a personal CHRO development plan3. Implement and plan for continuous development
Best-Practice Toolkit
  • 360 Feedback Diagnostic
  • 360 Feedback Interpretation Worksheet
  • CHRO Competency Prioritization
  • Learning Methods Catalog
  • CHRO Personal Leadership Development Plan
  • HR Development Activities Catalog
  • CHRO Personal Leadership Development Plan
After completing this step you will have:
  • Prioritized competencies to develop based on organizational and personal needs
  • Assessed current proficiency levels
  • Identified relevant development opportunities you’re currently engaged in
  • Selected additional development opportunities
  • Built a personal development plan
  • Determined how to hold yourself accountable for your development
  • Prepared to assess development effectiveness
  • Planned to continually update your development plan

Use a mix of learning methods to build an impactful development plan

The following slides outline where to look and what to look for in development activities when building out a personal development plan. While identifying and selecting development activities, keep the three learning methods top of mind:

Experiential: Relational: Formal:
On-the-job learning opportunities that provide the chance to learn by doing. Opportunities, such as executive coaching and mentoring, where one can develop learning relationships with others. Structured learning and training programs such as courses, webinars, conferences, and reading.
Benefits
  • Integrates development into day-to-day role and tasks (no additional time requirements)
  • Increases visibility internally and externally
  • Provides an opportunity to put formal learning into practice
  • Minimizes additional costs
  • Provides support in what can be a lonely role
  • Helps with overcoming challenges and making decisions by providing external and alternative perspectives
  • Mutually beneficial
  • Ensures consistency with standardized knowledge sharing and clear learning objectives
  • Results in easily measurable achievements to help show progress towards development goals
  • Provides a change of pace and a break from typical routine

Maximize the effectiveness of your development plan with a combination of experiential, relational, and formal learning. Finding the right mix of learning methods to suit your learning style, organization, and goals is essential.

While it may be tempting to only select formal courses and training that are marketed to perfectly fit your development priorities, supporting formal learning with actual experience and feedback is key to making sure it sticks.

See McLean & Company’s Learning Methods Catalog to further explore common learning methods.

Start by looking at the development activities you’re already engaged in

Identify current learning activities that align with development priorities

Based on your development priorities, examine activities you are already pursuing (internally or externally) to include in your development plan. Leverage these activities as development opportunities by identifying learning objectives that connect to new development goals and actively applying what you learn.

Document relevant activities and associated learning method in the CHRO Personal Leadership Development Plan.

Experiential

Look for projects you’re already engaged in that support development in the areas needed. For example, existing strategic projects can be used as learning activities. Other experiential activities that you may already be doing include sitting on a Board of Directors, judging a case competition, engaging in relevant volunteer work, and job shadowing.

Relational

Examine your existing professional relationships that are advancing your development. For example, the time spent working closely with the C-suite and senior leaders in your organization – particularly the CEO and the CFO – provides a valuable relational learning opportunity.

Another existing relationship you may have is with a mentor or coach. See the following slide for more information on the importance of this relationship and how to pursue it if you do not already have one.

Formal

Review training programs that you are currently taking or planning on taking, being sure to account for both HR- and non-HR related training. Other formal activities may include attending a webinar and/or conference or reading relevant published material.

McLean & Company Insight

Don’t overlook the developmental value of activities you’re already pursuing. Though it’s tempting to start looking for activities marketed exclusively for executive development, there’s a lot you can learn from existing activities when they’re carried out with a purposeful focus on development.

Get the most out of personal development by leveraging an executive coach, mentor, or counselor

Executive coach:

A certified executive coach provides a neutral perspective on your development in the short term, specifically around skills and job performance. The relationship is typically more formal, with structured meetings and a specified duration. A coach draws from general business knowledge, rather than specific industry experience. Executive coaches ask questions to guide coachees to solve problems themselves, rather than just telling them the answer.

Mentor:

The goal of a mentoring relationship is to transfer knowledge, skills, and experience between the mentor and mentee with a focus on long-term career support and development. The relationship can be either formal or informal. Mentors draw from their own industry knowledge and experience to offer advice. Mentors provide guidance, information, and experience, and create opportunities for mentees to reflect on their current situation by asking powerful questions.

McLean & Company’s Executive Counselor Program pairs you with an executive counselor who has extensive CHRO and industry experience as well as strong coaching skills, providing the benefits of both a mentor and a coach. Your executive counselor will be your trusted advisor and will support you in the achievement of your development goals.

What to look for in a coach or mentor:

  • Challenge and support – they must be prepared to challenge you and get you to think about things differently but also provide support and encouragement.
  • Corporate experience – proven skill and expertise in the areas you are looking to develop.
  • Chemistry – to get the most out of the relationship, you must trust your executive coach or mentor and be comfortable confiding in them.

McLean & Company Insight

CHROs are responsible for coaching and mentoring everyone else, often without anyone to turn to themselves. It can be lonely at the top! An executive coach or mentor helps combat the isolation while providing invaluable perspectives and support.

Continue to identify additional development opportunities to pursue on the next slide

Select additional development activities to fill gaps where priorities are not addressed

Review your CHRO Personal Leadership Development Plan thus far and identify gaps where the prioritized competencies are either missing or have a limited number of development activities.

Look at:

  • Prioritized competencies that are currently not being addressed.
  • Prioritized competencies that currently have activities that address them. Assess the number and complexity of these activities.
  • The breakdown of learning methods used for the development activities.

Ask:

  • Which prioritized competencies are not sufficiently supported?
  • Is a learning method (experiential, relational, or formal) missing or lacking?

Select additional development opportunities that address these gaps and document in the CHRO Personal Leadership Development Plan:

  • Ask your direct leader for suggestions on existing internal opportunities to leverage.
  • Use the HR Development Activities Catalog to help identify or generate ideas of relevant internal and external opportunities.

Before moving on, verify that all prioritized competencies are addressed and there is a mix of learning methods.

McLean & Company Insight

Retaining what is learned is a constant struggle. Ensuring there is a blend of learning methods when selecting development activities is key to reinforcing learning.

Build and socialize your development plan

Create the plan

Document your development plan in the CHRO Personal Leadership Development Plan:

  • Outline any budget requirements for action items, e.g. the cost of formal training. Be as accurate as possible.
  • Document how you will measure progress against your development goals.
  • Establish target dates for reviewing your progress to ensure the development opportunities are pursued.
  • Optional: Create a learning map to visually map out your development plan in its entirety.
  • Sample of the 'CHRO Personal Leadership Development Plan'.

Finalize and communicate

Share the plan with your executive counselor, coach, and/or mentor and determine if you will be sharing the plan with your direct leader. If you are developing more for personal growth than for organizational benefit, you may choose not to share it internally.

If you share the plan with your direct leader, ask if they have any suggestions or modifications to your plan. If it is necessary to make the case for budget allotment, focus on the benefits your development will provide the organization:

  • Highlight the alignment of the organizational strategy and your development goals.
  • Outline how you will be better able to execute on strategic tactics and the impact that will have on achieving organizational goals.
  • If possible, use hard numbers to show benefits.

Keep in mind that development can still be pursued even without full support from your direct leader, but you may need to adjust the plan to minimize the budget required.

Step 3

Implement and plan for continuous development

1. Identify personal CHRO development priorities2. Create a personal CHRO development plan3. Implement and plan for continuous development
Best-Practice Toolkit
  • 360 Feedback Diagnostic
  • 360 Feedback Interpretation Worksheet
  • CHRO Competency Prioritization
  • Learning Methods Catalog
  • CHRO Personal Leadership Development Plan
  • HR Development Activities Catalog
  • CHRO Personal Leadership Development Plan
After completing this step you will have:
  • Prioritized competencies to develop based on organizational and personal needs
  • Assessed current proficiency levels
  • Identified relevant development opportunities you’re currently engaged in
  • Selected additional development opportunities
  • Built a personal development plan
  • Determined how to hold yourself accountable for your development
  • Prepared to assess development effectiveness
  • Planned to continually update your development plan

Hold yourself accountable for your development

Create accountability for following through on action items by sharing your development plan with any or all of the following parties:

  • Direct leader
  • C-Suite
  • Board of directors
  • Mentor or coach
  • Your McLean & Company Executive Counselor

Integrate your development plan into your performance expectations and discussions to maintain accountability

  • Goal-setting: Align some performance goals with development goals.
  • Competencies: Focus on the competencies that were prioritized for development.
  • Coaching & feedback: Ensure discussions are focused on the development plan and progress towards development goals.

Prepare to have ongoing discussions about your development plan with your direct leader:

  • Provide updates and discuss actions that have been taken.
  • Review progress towards development goals.
  • Demonstrate the impact of your development on the organization.

Share successes with the stakeholders you shared your development plan with:

  • Share the activities and achievements you’ve been able to accomplish because of your development effort.
  • Reinforce how your development effort helped achieve positive outcomes for both yourself and the organization.

McLean & Company Insight

Sharing your success creates internal validation for the time, effort, and budget spent on it and positions you as a role model for the value of development for your team and the organization.

See next slide for more detail on assessing this impact

Assess development effectiveness with regular checkpoints

Measure development impact six months after initiating your development plan and at least every 12 months thereafter (or more often if frequent feedback is desired).

Revisit feedback:

  • Repeat the 360 Degree Diagnostic and examine the change in feedback.
  • Assess the average change in competency evaluations during performance reviews.
  • Review results from McLean & Company’s HR Stakeholder Management Survey:
    • Overall perception and satisfaction with HR
    • Perception of alignment of HR with organizational goals and objectives
    • Evidence of growing HR business impact and credibility
  • Examine other available feedback (e.g. crowdsourced feedback, pulse surveys) for additional content and context on leadership and HR.

Evaluate progress towards development goals:

  • Track the metrics selected in your development plan to gauge direct success.
  • Assess changes in organizational performance to gauge indirect impact.
    • Use the “links to HR and organizational goals” articulated in your development plan and the associated organizational metrics to track this impact.

Analyze all results, looking for patterns across the variety of metrics being monitored to understand the general effectiveness and impact of your development.

Continue to update your development plan and uncover new development opportunities

Regularly reassess priorities

As organizational (and personal) needs change, your development priorities must change to reflect them. Revisit your development plan to reassess and update areas of focus on a regular basis, i.e.:

  • Annually
  • Whenever strategic priorities change (e.g. if there is a large organizational change)
Assess the following:
  • Alignment of prioritized competencies with organizational strategy
  • Emergence of new competencies that are essential for CHROs

Continually look for activities

Creating a development plan is not a one-and-done activity. Aside from revisiting and revamping the development plan annually, it should be added to throughout the year as well. Constantly look for new development activities to ensure you don’t miss out on any exciting opportunities that emerge after you’ve drafted your plan.

Develop a plan to ensure you are regularly looking for new development opportunities to add to your plan. For example:
  • Schedule a recurring time block in your calendar to search for upcoming conferences.
  • Discuss additional activities quarterly with direct leader.
  • Set a goal to find one new development opportunity each quarter.

McLean & Company Insight

The competencies that are critical to a CHRO’s effectiveness today may not remain the same as the world of work continues to change. Regularly assessing your development priorities ensures the development plan remains current and impactful.

Appendix I: CHRO Leadership Development Program

Focus on your own personal and professional development, something that is easy to lose sight of day to day, as you focus on the organization and employees. Leverage your personal Executive Counselor to make personal and professional development a priority.

Why the CHRO Leadership Development Program?

  • Your personal Executive Counselor will be with you every step of the way.
  • McLean & Company’s research-informed CHRO competencies provide focus on the key success factors of your role.
  • Our robust, easy-to-use 360 Feedback diagnostic gathers feedback and perspectives from key stakeholders such as your leader, peers, staff, and even the Board!
  • Your customized Personal Leadership Development Plan created with your trusted Executive Counselor will link to your personal and organizational goals and values.
  • You’ll develop a custom, authentic Leadership Brand, which allows you to thrive and better market your unique value proposition.

How it works:

  • Discuss your personal and professional goals with your Executive Counselor.
  • Start with a 360 review to get a holistic perspective of your leadership from a variety of critical stakeholders to prioritize your development goals.
  • With your Executive Counselor’s guidance, create a plan for meeting your personal and professional development goals.
  • Explore your Leadership Brand with your Counselor and develop a brand that is authentic, organizationally aligned, and has market appeal.
  • Your Executive Counselor will keep you on track and accountable.

Appendix II: Competencies (CHRO-specific)

Competency Definition CHRO Behavior Statements
Culture Management Models the organization's values and reinforces the desired culture in support of the achievement of organizational goals.
  • Inspires others to embody the organization's core values.
  • Collaborates with other leaders to identify the organization's desired culture.
  • Regularly evaluates the organization's culture for alignment with organizational strategy.
  • Holds employees at all levels accountable for behavior that is consistent with organizational values.
Change Management Adjusts thinking and behavior to resiliently face change and uses experience to fuel growth. Embraces failure as a learning opportunity for themselves and others. Enables the process of change and transition while helping others deal with the effects of change.
  • Coaches leaders on change management and activities, identifying best practices.
  • Develops and manages change management strategies for major organizational change.
  • Continuously seeks to advance knowledge and best practices in change management.
Risk Management The ability to assess and mitigate the degree of risk in plans or actions. Makes contingency plans to limit the magnitude of risk.
  • Anticipates the risk involved in taking action or not taking action in some cases.
  • Makes rational business decisions in the absence of complete information.
  • Provides managers and senior leaders with advice and counsel on risk situations as they pertain to departmental or overall organizational initiatives.
  • Engages in business continuity planning.

Appendix II: Competencies (CHRO-specific)

Competency Definition CHRO Behavior Statements
People Leadership Inspires, motivates, and empowers people to achieve organizational goals. Coaches, mentors, and manages employee experience and employee performance through mindful preparation. Creates space for others to lead.
  • Demonstrates accountability for strategic people leadership goals and plans.
  • Demonstrates belief in the value of people as individuals; applies influence to improving the employee experience.
  • Coaches others to improve, develop, and become more confident in their capabilities.
  • Encourages a culture with a mindful approach to coaching, employee performance, and employee experience.
Influence Impacts others' thinking, decisions, or behavior through inclusive practices and relationship building. Drives action through influence, often without authority.
  • Takes a planful approach to influencing others by identifying stakeholder interests, common goals, and potential barriers.
  • Facilitates connections between members of their network for the benefit of the organization or others.
  • Creates an environment where individuals trust the leader and the leader trusts those they’re leading.
Strategic Leadership and Execution Applies vision to think beyond the immediate situation and explores multiple potential paths. Invests time in planning, discovery, and reflection to better drive decisions and more efficient implementation. Ensures that business goals are met by executing, monitoring, and adjusting the organizational action plan.
  • Collaborates with organization leaders to establish long-term strategy and establishes aligned departmental goals.
  • Presents strong business cases for initiatives and resource allocation.
  • Monitors the alignment between the organization's vision, mission, and values and workplace decisions.
  • Seeks out, encourages, and incorporates a diverse set of perspectives when making decisions.

Appendix II: Competencies (Foundational Strategic HR)

Competency Definition CHRO Behavior Statements
Organizational Awareness Contributes to the organization by understanding and aligning actions with the organization's goals, core functions, needs, and values.
  • Actively engages in setting the organization's mission, vision, and values.
  • Politically aware and can identify key players internally and externally.
  • Looks beyond stated organizational goals to develop people practices that support both the people and the goals.
Business Acumen Makes decisions based on a solid understanding of the business and the wider industry. Maximizes results by understanding and aligning actions with the organization's goals, core functions, needs, and values. Applies financial knowledge to address organizational needs.
  • Has experience in and thorough knowledge of business practices and processes and can communicate insight from predictive analytics. Able to read and interpret financial documents.
  • Communicates in industry-specific terms and broadly about the business units/areas of the organization.
  • Able to identify broad business problems within the context of industry-wide knowledge and trends and suggest effective solutions.
  • Evaluates the business value and success of projects and services using relevant financial metrics.

Appendix II: Competencies (Foundational Strategic HR)

Competency Definition CHRO Behavior Statements
Data Literacy Identifies, collects, and interprets quality data that informs human capital decision making. Communicates, and acts on, information and insight from relevant data (including metrics, visualizations, and analytics).
  • Identifies and leverages relevant data when making decisions, providing recommendations, or analyzing organizational issues.
  • Creates a culture of data-driven decision making for human capital decisions in the organization.
  • Connects with other functions in the organization to leverage non-HR data that can be used to inform human capital decision making.
  • Uses effective storytelling to communicate results of analysis and influence strategic business decisions at the organizational level.
Relationship Building Develops internal and external trusting and professional relationships. Purposefully develops networks to build value through collaboration.
  • Builds and maintains strategic alliances with all business units in the organization and works together to achieve business goals.
  • Fosters a culture that supports intra-departmental relationships throughout the organization to break down silos and barriers.
  • Develops professional connections with associates or customers, and effectively and appropriately uses the relationships to expand business network or achieve work-related goals.
  • Uses deep understanding of their network to establish and activate connections between people to create value and make the organization stronger.

Appendix III: Feedback Request Email Template

Use this email template to ask raters for feedback through your 360-Degree Feedback survey.

To use this template, simply replace the text in dark grey with information customized to you and your raters. When complete, delete all introductory or example text and convert all remaining text to black prior to distribution.

Dear [Rater],

As you are a key stakeholder of mine, I would like your input into my professional development.

Please take 20-30 minutes to provide your feedback into which competencies and behaviors I perform effectively and which ones I may need to work on. I want to assure you that I am open to all types of feedback and your candid participation is greatly appreciated.

The feedback is being collected by a third party and will be compiled anonymously. I will never see your specific ratings; however, your comments will be provided verbatim.

I look forward to your input into my development.

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,
[Your name]

Key insights

Insight 1

The CHRO is responsible for upskilling and reskilling the workforce to keep pace with constant change, yet CHROs often struggle to prioritize their own development. As the CHRO risks falling behind, so too does the organization.

Insight 2

Aligning with organizational priorities inherently creates internal development opportunities that are a win-win, providing benefit to both the individual and the organization.

Insight 3

CHROs are responsible for coaching and mentoring everyone else, often without anyone to turn to themselves. It can be lonely at the top! An executive coach or mentor helps combat the isolation while providing invaluable perspectives and support.

Insight 4

Retaining what is learned is a constant struggle. Ensuring there is a blend of learning methods when selecting development activities is key to reinforcing learning.

Insight 5

Sharing your success creates internal validation for the time, effort, and budget spent on it, and makes you a role model for the value of development for your team and the organization.

Insight 6

The competencies that are critical to a CHRO’s effectiveness today may not remain the same as the world of work continues to change. Regularly assessing your development priorities ensures the development plan remains current and impactful.

Leverage Feedback to Drive Performance

Identify impactful initiatives using our diagnostic programs to collect feedback from employees, stakeholders, and the HR team.

Optimize the HR Department for Success

HR Stakeholder Management Survey
Align HR initiatives with business strategy and stakeholder needs.

HR Management & Governance
Improve HR’s core functions and drive project success.

Improve Employee Experience and HR Processes

New Hire Survey
Ensure recruiting and onboarding programs are effective by surveying new employees.

Employee Engagement
Move beyond measuring job satisfaction with a comprehensive view of engagement.

McLean Employee Experience Monitor
Evolve to leader-driven engagement with a real-time dashboard and results.

Employee Exit Survey
Understand why people leave the organization to proactively retain top talent.

360 Feedback
Empower employees with a holistic view of their performance to prioritize development.

View our diagnostic programs for more information.

McLean & Company offers various levels of support to best suit your needs

DIY Toolkit

Guided Implementation

Workshop

Consulting

"Our team has already made this critical project a priority, and we have the time and capability, but some guidance along the way would be helpful." "Our team knows that we need to fix a process, but we need assistance to determine where to focus. Some check-ins along the way would help keep us on track." "We need to hit the ground running and get this project kicked off immediately. Our team has the ability to take this over once we get a framework and strategy in place." "Our team does not have the time or the knowledge to take this project on. We need assistance through the entirety of this project."

Diagnostics and consistent frameworks used throughout all four options

Research Contributors and Experts

  • Bill Goggin
    Director, Diploma in Adult Education
    St. Francis Xavier University
  • Billie Hartless
    CHRO
    Mitel
  • Bob Bale
    President
    Wildland Restoration International
  • Dawn Frail
    President
    Eagle Vision leadership Development Group
  • Drew Railton
    Managing Partner
    Caldwell Partners
  • Eileen Timmins
    President and Founder
    Aingilin
  • Jackie Meagher
    Former VP of HR
    Info-Tech Research Group
  • Jennifer Bledsoe
    VP of Operations
    Meyer Corporation
  • John Hannah
    Former SVP & CHRO
    Purolator
  • John Lucas
    Principal Consulting Partner
    True North Human Capital Consulting, LCC
  • Kristy Blackman
    Former VP, HR
    The Lange Construction Corporation
  • Lisa Fain
    CEO
    Center for Mentoring Excellence
  • Liza Provenzano
    Principal
    SparkHR
  • Mardi Walker
    Executive Counselor
    McLean & Company
  • Mary-Alice Vuicic
    Former EVP HR & Labour Relations
    Loblaw Companies Limited
  • Maryjo Charbonnier
    CHRO
    Wolters Kluwer
  • Melissa Austin
    CHRO
    Impact Fulfillment Services
  • Michelle Nasser
    International Executive Coach
    Michelle Nasser Group Intl.
  • Paula Conrad
    Coaching Practitioner
    Paula Conrad Coaching
  • Ronald Thomas
    Former CEO
    Great Places to Work Gulf
  • Scott Slipy
    CHRO
    Symphony.com
  • Scott Bohannon
    Former CEO
    Info-Tech Research Group
  • Shelley Zane
    Former President
    Leaderz Matter Consulting

Works Cited

Center for Creative Leadership. “Driving Performance: How Leadership Development Powers Success.” Center for Creative Leadership, 2016. Web. Sept. 2020. https://www.ccl.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/driving-performance-white-paper-center-for-creative-leadership.pdf

HRPS and Willis Towers Watson. “The Future Chief People Officer: Imagine. Invent. Ignite.” Willis Towers Watson, 2020. Web. Sept. 2020. https://www.willistowerswatson.com/en-CA/Insights/2020/01/the-future-chief-people-officer-imagine-invent-ignite

IMAA. “M&A Statistics.” Institute for Mergers, Acquisitions and Alliances (IMAA) analysis, 2020. Web. Sept. 2020. https://imaa-institute.org/mergers-and-acquisitions-statistics/

Mercer. “Global Talent Trends 2019.” Mercer, 2019. Web. Sept. 2020. https://www.mercer.com/our-thinking/career/global-talent-hr-trends.html

World Economic Forum. “The Future of Jobs Report.” World Economic Forum, 2018. Aug. 2020. http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_Future_of_Jobs_2018.pdf

World Economic Forum. “HR4.0: Shaping People Strategies in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.” World Economic Forum, 2019. Web. Sept. 2020. http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_NES_Whitepaper_HR4.0.pdf

Upchurch. “CHRO Trends 2020.” The Talent Strategy Group, 2020. Web. Sept. 2020. https://cdn.talentstrategygroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/CHRO-Trends-2020-.pdf

About McLean & Company

McLean & Company is an HR research and advisory firm providing practical solutions to human resources challenges via executable research, tools, diagnostics, and advisory services that have a clear and measurable impact on your business.

What Is a Blueprint?

A blueprint is designed to be a roadmap, containing a methodology and the tools and templates you need to solve your HR problems.

Each blueprint can be accompanied by a Guided Implementation that provides you access to our world-class analysts to help you get through the project.

Need Extra Help?
Speak With An Analyst

Get the help you need in this 3-phase advisory process. You'll receive 4 touchpoints with our researchers, all included in your membership.

Guided Implementation #1 - Identify your development priorities
  • Call #1 - Discuss how to prioritize competencies for development based on organizational and personal needs.
  • Call #2 - Examine what’s needed to create the personal 360-degree feedback survey and advice on how to review the results.

Guided Implementation #2 - Create your CHRO development plan
  • Call #1 - Discuss how to select development activities and build overall development plan.

Guided Implementation #3 - Implement and plan for continuous development
  • Call #1 - Discuss how to maintain accountability, assess effectiveness, and continually update the development plan.

Contributors

  • Melissa Austin – CHRO, Impact Fulfillment Services
  • Bob Bale – President, Wildland Restoration International
  • Kristy Blackman – Former VP, HR, The Lange Construction Corporation
  • Jennifer Bledsoe – VP of Operations, Meyer Corporation
  • Scott Bohannon – Former CEO, Info-Tech Research Group
  • Maryjo Charbonnier – CHRO, Wolters Kluwer
  • Paula Conrad – Coaching Practitioner, Paula Conrad Coaching
  • Lisa Fain – CEO, Center for Mentoring Excellence
  • Dawn Frail – President, Eagle Vision leadership Development Group
  • Bill Goggin – Director, Diploma in Adult Education, St. Francis Xavier University
  • John Hannah – Former SVP & CHRO, Purolator
  • Billie Hartless – CHRO, Mitel
  • John Lucas – Principal Consulting Partner, True North Human Capital Consulting, LCC
  • Jackie Meagher – Former VP of HR, Info-Tech Research Group
  • Michelle Nasser – International Executive Coach, Michelle Nasser Group Intl.
  • Liza Provenzano – Principal, SparkHR
  • Drew Railton – Managing Partner, Caldwell Partners
  • Scott Slipy – CHRO, Symphony.com
  • Ronald Thomas – Former CEO, Great Places to Work Gulf
  • Eileen Timmins – President and Founder, Aingilin
  • Mardi Walker – Executive Counselor, McLean & Company
  • Mary-Alice Vuicic – Former EVP HR & Labour Relations, Loblaw Companies Limited
  • Shelley Zane – Former President, Leaderz Matter Consulting