Investing in Future Leaders: How It Works

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Investing in Future Leaders Curriculum

Cohort-wide Project Kickoff

Individual learning and reflection: Along with the other organizations in the Fall 2021 program cohort, you will learn about the program goals and experience, meet your coach and support team, and log into the learning platform. With your team, you will start conversations about why you are participating in the Investing in Future Leaders program, and you’ll discuss the scope of the program for your team – who you want it to benefit and why. You’ll also have the opportunity to connect with other organizations in the cohort.

Leadership team discussion: Teams should complete the brief (5-minute) onboarding module orienting them to the platform and program resources.


Step 1: Identifying Core and Leadership Competencies

Individual learning and reflection: As a team, you will identify a starter list of “core” and ‘leadership” competencies which reflect your values, equity goals and broader strategy. These competencies will anchor the rest of the Investing in Future Leaders program and will drive your development process as an organization.

Leadership team discussion: To prepare for the Team Summit you will reflect individually on your organization’s strategic priorities and equity goals, and you’ll consider how talent in your organization will need to change over time. You’ll learn about what competencies are, and then you’ll individually nominate the competencies that you think should be on your team’s starter list.

Step 2: Pressure-test and Refine Competencies

Individual learning and reflection: To make the process of creating competencies more inclusive, your team will review input that you’ve gathered from your collective direct reports. You will also review your individual reflections in which you did a “gut check” of the competencies. With this information, you’ll agree on changes to the competencies and a process for revising the scaled definitions, if needed.

Leadership team discussion: In advance of the Team Summit, you will gather input on the starter list of competencies from your direct reports. You will also reflect individually on the competencies and their scaled definitions – and whether they reflect future leadership needs and align with your organizational values and priorities, including equity goals.

Step 3: Identifying Development Priorities

Individual learning and reflection: In this Milestone, you will identify development priorities for yourself, and begin working with one direct report to identify their development priorities. During the Summit you will share with your team members the development priorities for one direct report and reflect on whether changes are needed the competencies.

Leadership team discussion: Before the Team Summit, you will learn about an asset-based approach to development planning that includes mitigating biases. You’ll take a holistic approach to identifying your own 2-3 development priorities. Then, you’ll reflect on the development of one of your direct reports, and meet with that person to support them in choosing development priorities.

Step 4: Begin Co-Creating 70/20/10 Development Plans

Individual learning and reflection: In this Milestone, you will continue working with one direct report to “co-creating” a development plan using the “70/20/10” principle. In the Team Summit, you’ll share these draft plans with your team members and provide input and ideas to each another. You’ll also prepare to use 70/20/10 plans to coach direct report and hold yourself accountable for doing so.

Leadership team discussion: To prepare for the Team Summit you will learn about the 70/20/10 principle and see examples of development plans. Then, you’ll draft a 70/20/10 development plan for yourself, and reflect on any input you might have to the development plan of one direct report. You’ll meet with that direct report to help them refine their draft of their 70/20/10 plan.

To learn more about Bridgespan’s approach to professional development planning, check out our article, “How to Build Competency-Based Professional Development Plans.”

Step 5: Preparing for Implementation

Individual learning and reflection: Now that one of your direct reports has a draft development plan, you’ll think about how to go through this process with any remaining direct reports, and how to use the development plans in an ongoing way. In the Team Summit, you will reflect on what to do differently with other direct reports. You’ll also discuss individual and organizational next steps to keep this work moving forward. After the Team Summit, you’ll meet with the one direct report to finalize their 70/20/10 development plan.

Leadership team discussion: Each team member will reflect individually on changes needed as you move towards co-creating development plans with any remaining direct reports. Each team member will also start thinking about the path forward – both at the individual level and the organizational level – and this will be an important input to the Team Summit conversation.

How Your Team Will Engage In This Work

All members of your executive team will have key roles to play in this process:


  • Be team champion and cheerleader
  • Bring important content into team discussions
  • Model participation and engagement

Project lead

  • Act as team facilitator and “guide”
  • Plan key logistical details (scheduling, meeting location, prepare materials before team discussions, as necessary)
  • Surface and troubleshoot issues with the CEO/ED or Bridgespan

Team members

  • Complete individual modules and all pre-work
  • Attend and actively engage in team discussions
  • Wear both individual/department “hat” and leadership team “hat”

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Additional Information

Return to the main Investing in Future Leaders page

Learn more about our other Bridgespan Leadership Accelerator programs

Download an overview of the program to share with your team

Reach out to us at [email protected] for more information