Leadership Development at Goldman Sachs
In November 1999, 11 of Goldman Sachs' finest gathered to put the final touches on a revolutionary leadership development plan. Following Goldman's explosive growth during the 1990s and its eventual IPO in 1999, a diverse group of leaders from across the firm were selected to "assess the future training and development needs of Goldman Sachs, with a particular focus on the need for a more systematic and effective approach to developing managing directors." After six months of brainstorming, holding discussions with Goldman Sachs colleagues, interviewing experts, and benchmarking best practices, it was finally time to present their findings to the management committee. The briefing contained an integrated leader development plan with concrete recommendations on how to resolve several critical design issues, including: location, faculty, content, format, method, target audience, governance, and sponsorship. No one sitting on the management committee had relied on a formal leadership program to reach the top. How skeptical might they be? How do you convince hard-nosed bankers to leave their desks and invest precious time focusing on what many perceived as "soft" issues?