Training Top 100 Best Practice: Gilbane Leadership Development Program (GLDP)

Nominated participants complete a nine-month blended learning program comprising a four-day launch event at Babson University and an action learning component.

The Gilbane Leadership Development Program (GLDP) created by Gilbane Building Company is designed to ensure a sufficient supply of internal talent for business unit and department leadership roles. It targets managers who have the potential to become business unit leaders or department heads in the next five to seven years across the entire company.

Program Details

Nominated participants complete a nine-month blended learning program comprising a four-day launch event at Babson Executive Education at Babson University, along with a nine-month action learning component tied to the company’s Vision 2025 Corporate Strategy.

Participants are asked to focus on their strengths and their authentic self and how they can use that to be stronger leaders. The focus is on the positive to engage participants in the experience.

The program features:

  • 360 multi-rater: To take part in the program, participants must complete a 360 multi-rater assessment and coaching, and implement a Career Development Plan prior to attending the four-day kickoff at Babson College. Participants undertake a Reflected Best Self Exercise that helps them see themselves at their best. The exercise includes a self-assessment, along with soliciting input from people in the participant’s life and work who can share stories of moments they have seen them at their best.
  • Four-day launch event: Topics include authentic leadership, Emotional Intelligence, inclusive leadership, innovation and entreprenuership, Lean practices, strategic thinking and decision-making, communicating vision and strategy, and financial acumen. Topic sessions are taught by senior Gilbane leaders in conjunction with Babson professors. As part of the event, the president and CEO hosts a Fireside Chat at his home to respond to questions collected anonymously from participants ahead of time and to allow participants to network with senior leaders in a more informal environment.
  • Connect with an exec: As part of the four-day kickoff event, participants sign up for one-on-one mentoring meetings with senior executives that take place during non-session hours to build relationships, discuss pressing company and career questions, and identify coaching opportunities.
  • Action learning projects: Cross-functional teams of five to six participants research and analyze a current, strategically aligned business challenge outside their area of expertise. The teams analyze and debrief findings monthly and come together nine months later to propose a plan to a senior executive panel.
  • Mentoring: Participants become mentors and are assigned a mentee for six months from outside of their geographic area.

Two additional virtual learning sessions on how successful leaders manage personal networks and mindfulness are conducted three and six months after the kickoff event to continue developing participants and give them new skills to apply as they evolve as leaders.


In a self-assessment, 89 percent of participants reported they were using new skills they learned in their daily interactions and work activities.

In 2019, 59.4 percent of participants were promoted. Turnover for the group was 0 percent versus the companywide goal of 10 percent.

Lorri Freifeld is the editor/publisher of Training magazine, owned by Lakewood Media Group. She writes on a number of topics, including talent management, training technology, and leadership development. She spearheads two awards programs: the Training Top 100 and Emerging Training Leaders. A writer/editor for the last 29 years, she has held editing positions at a variety of publications and holds a Master’s degree in journalism from New York University.