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Leadership development dilemma #2: Broad reach or deeper impact?

Tim Janisch by Tim Janisch

Leadership development dilemma #2 – Broad reach or deeper impact?

Who do you want to reach?


Via five short articles, we’ll explore the choices at hand, when thinking about deploying leadership development support in the year ahead. This next dilemma relates to the populations you want to reach, and the degree of impact you want to have.


Reading time: 1 minute

Consider the audience and how you want to move them.

Leadership behaviour occurs in the context of an organisation’s structure, hierarchy and culture. Senior leaders have a role modelling effect, People leaders set expectations of behaviour, and networked influencers create followership through their own actions and relationships.

So deciding who you want engage in leadership development is nuanced. A simple choice is the balance between breadth of reach and depth of impact.


Broad. You might choose to reach large audiences up, down and across the organisation, perhaps to spread common expectations and norms, to provide baseline knowledge in leadership capability, knowing that this can’t achieve so much ‘vertical development’ with each participant. Approaches for ‘broad’ reach include:

  • Light-touch facilitated programmes that involve many participants in a single session or short journey only
  • Learning tech solutions that gives access to good material to anyone who wants to do self-service personal development
  • Learning webinars and virtual workshops to share content to large audiences at one time.

Deep. Or you might want to achieve a profound shift in mindset and behaviour, among fewer leaders but anticipating that change can ripple out from those you selected. Approaches for ‘deep’ reach include:

  • High-touch experiential workshops that elicit and examine leaders’ behaviour and mindset
  • Identifying limiting beliefs (whether individual or collective) and working to reverse and remove these
  • 1-1 and small group coaching that creates a safe space to delve into barriers and identify new possibilities
  • In-tact team programmes that observe the team’s real work, offer feedback, and provide targeted learning


Neither is right or wrong, but if you had to say which of these was your bigger focus in the year ahead, which would it be?

Do please share your thoughts and comments on our LinkedIn poll, here.


As always, we’re here to help. And if this is a choice you’re working through, we’d love to chat.



Tim Janisch

Director of Leadership and Team Development



Explore more leadership development dilemmas:

  • Leadership development dilemma #1: Individuality or consistency? – Read here
  • Leadership development dilemma #3: Push content or remove barriers? – Read here
  • Leadership development dilemma #4: Human-facilitated or Tech-enabled learning? – Read here
  • Leadership development dilemma #5: Off-the-shelf or custom design? – Read here

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