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Building a Culture of Leadership: Creating and Setting Up a Leadership University in Your Company

In today’s rapidly evolving business landscape, the importance of effective leadership cannot be overstated. Strong leaders drive innovation, inspire teams, and navigate their organizations through change. Recognizing the critical role of leadership development, many forward-thinking companies are establishing their own Leadership Universities. These internal institutions are designed to foster leadership skills and cultivate a culture of continuous learning and growth within the organization. In this blog post, we’ll guide you through the process of creating and setting up a Leadership University in your company.

Step 1: Define Your Leadership Goals

Before embarking on the journey of establishing a Leadership University, it’s crucial to define your objectives. Start by answering these questions:

  • What specific leadership competencies and skills do you want to develop in your employees?
  • How do you envision leadership contributing to your company’s long-term success?
  • What is the desired leadership culture within your organization?
    Clearly articulated goals will guide your Leadership University’s curriculum and structure.

Step 2: Assemble a Leadership Development Team

Building a Leadership University requires a dedicated team with expertise in leadership development and organizational learning. Your team should include:

  • Executive Sponsor: A senior leader who champions the initiative and ensures alignment with company goals.
  • Program Director: An experienced professional who oversees the day-to-day operations of the Leadership University.
  • Instructional Designers: Experts in curriculum development and adult learning who design engaging, relevant courses.
  • Facilitators and Coaches: Skilled individuals who deliver training and provide one-on-one coaching to participants.
  • Evaluation and Assessment Specialists: Professionals who measure the effectiveness of the program and make necessary adjustments.

Step 3: Design the Curriculum

Your Leadership University’s curriculum should align with your defined goals. Consider a mix of the following components:

  • Core Leadership Training: Offer foundational courses that cover leadership principles, communication, and decision-making.
  • Specialized Tracks: Tailor programs for different leadership levels, such as emerging leaders, mid-level managers, and executives.
  • Soft Skills Workshops: Include courses on emotional intelligence, conflict resolution, and adaptability.
  • Leadership Challenges: Create real-world scenarios and case studies for participants to tackle.
  • Mentoring and Coaching: Facilitate mentorship programs to connect emerging leaders with seasoned executives.

Step 4: Identify Learning Methods

Diverse learning methods enhance engagement and retention. Incorporate:

  • Classroom Training: In-person or virtual workshops.
  • E-Learning Modules: Interactive online courses.
  • On-the-Job Learning: Encourage participants to apply their learning in their roles.
  • Group Projects: Collaborative tasks to develop teamwork and problem-solving skills.
  • Leadership Labs: Simulations and role-play exercises.

Step 5: Create a Learning Environment

Foster a culture of learning and leadership within your company by:

  • Leadership Resources: Establish a library of books, articles, and videos on leadership.
  • Peer Learning Communities: Encourage participants to form study groups and share insights.
  • Feedback Mechanisms: Implement regular feedback surveys and 360-degree assessments.
  • Recognition and Rewards: Recognize and celebrate leadership achievements and milestones.

Step 6: Measurement and Evaluation

Continuous improvement is key to the success of your Leadership University. Regularly assess the program’s effectiveness through:

  • Participant Feedback: Gather input from participants to refine course content and delivery.
  • Performance Metrics: Track leadership development progress through key performance indicators (KPIs).
  • Benchmarking: Compare your Leadership University to industry best practices.
  • Iterative Design: Adapt your curriculum and methods based on evaluation results.

Step 7: Launch and Sustain

Roll out your Leadership University with a well-planned launch, including:

  • Communication: Promote the program and its benefits to all employees.
  • Enrollment: Open registration and select your first cohort of participants.
  • Orientation: Provide an orientation to set expectations and introduce the program.
  • Support: Offer ongoing support to participants, including coaching and resources.

To sustain your Leadership University’s impact, ensure its integration into the company’s talent management and succession planning processes.


Establishing a Leadership University within your company is a strategic investment in your organization’s future. By fostering a culture of leadership and continuous learning, you empower your employees to become effective leaders who can drive your company’s success in an ever-changing business landscape. Follow these steps diligently, and you’ll be well on your way to building a thriving Leadership University that benefits both your employees and your bottom line.

Kevin Legara
Author: Kevin Legara