Training Top 125 Best Practice: Pennrose’s Emerging Leader Process and Workshops

The four workshops are a mix of instructor-led classroom, role-play, blended learning, video, and computer self-study.

Through career pathing, talent calibrations, and performance ratings, real estate developer Pennrose identifies high-potential employees and places them into a computer-based Talent Pool database. This tool allows the organization to record employees who are tracking toward critical roles and creates a succession planning pipeline that supports future leadership. Pennrose’s learning curriculum and learning maps are designed around career progression and supports the employees identified as top talent. One of the tracks for succession planning at Pennrose is the development of high potentials with the Emerging Leader Process and Workshops. 

Program Details

The Emerging Leader pool is an identified group of high potentials that Pennrose has provided enhanced career development, mentoring, and coaching. These participants are selected and nominated by senior management and they should hunger to learn more about the strategic vision of the company and be at ease interacting with senior members of the organization. A cross-functional representation of talent is taken into consideration when assembling the Emerging Leader cohort. 

Once selected, Emerging Leaders are enrolled in a year-long talent immersion. These four quarterly workshops are each designed to examine their role as leaders. The workshops are a mix of instructor-led classroom, role-play, blended learning, video, and computer self-study. Throughout the process, high potentials are assessed through diagnostics and feedback. In addition to the Emerging Leader Workshops, participants receive one-on-one coaching from leadership and their assigned Learning and Development career coach. Pennrose Emerging Leaders get exposure to all key members of the senior management team while learning more about the ins and outs of key aspects of the company’s business. At the end of the year, this “class” of emerging leaders graduates and continues to be tracked and attends an annual Executive Development workshop. Annually, a new class is nominated and inducted.

The Emerging Leader Workshops are designed to furnish growth opportunities, celebrate successes, and educate the future leaders of Pennrose’s business. The agenda for each session typically includes a business update and time with senior management, a case study or book study on a relevant leadership issue, several targeted diagnostics, and development planning exercises. 

The first workshop sets the theme of “You as a Leader.” The session explores participants’ leadership style, what inspires them, and their role in creating a motivating and engaging environment. At the end of the workshop, development planning begins. To assist in this, participants are assigned several pre-class action learning activities; the book, “Start With WHY: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action” by Simon Sinek; Sinek’s TED Talk; and a pre-class discovery activity. They also are assigned the “Everything DiSC Management Profile” diagnostic. This provides them with insights on five key areas: 

  • Introduction to Your Leadership Style
  • Directing and Delegating
  • Creating a Motivating Environment
  • Developing Others
  • Working with Your Manager

The first session also includes a question-and-answer period with senior leaders and owners regarding leadership and career potential. The session concludes with development planning and post-class action learning. 

The second session further explores participants’ leadership skills and style by reviewing the practical application of their action learning from the first session and delving into emotional intelligence (EQ). Pre-class, participants are required to read the book, “Emotional Intelligence 2.0,” by Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves. This delivers a step-by-step program for increasing EQ via four core EQ skills that enable them to achieve their fullest potential: 

  • Self-Awareness
  • Self-Management
  • Social Awareness
  • Relationship Management

As part of the book, they have online access to The Emotional Intelligence Appraisal. This provides them with a complete picture of their emotional intelligence and includes an understanding of: 

  • What emotional intelligence is
  • Their overall emotional intelligence score
  • Their current skill levels in the four areas that make up emotional intelligence
  • Specific recommendations for action they can take to improve emotional intelligence

In this session, senior leader spend time sharing experiences where understanding emotional intelligence has played a large role in business success. 

The third session further explores participants’ leadership skills and style by utilizing the skills and behaviors identified through DiSC and emotional intelligence to build strong relationships and conduct influential conversations. The third session also includes a video testimonial on Relationship Building by one of the owners. Participants engage and are certified in several role-play skills practices of difficult conversations. 

The fourth and final session brings the yearlong workshop to a conclusion. Participants are reviewed on development plan progress, class participation, and engagement, and they set a career development plan going forward. Participants share their personal leadership finding, as well as a leadership commitment. A “graduation” dinner is held with all levels of company ownership to celebrate. Graduates are monitored through succession planning, and in year 2, they attend an annual Executive Development Workshop focusing on vision, alignment, and execution. 


Measurement of the Emerging Leader Workshops is robust. With the establishment of Pennrose’s Emerging Leader group, 100 percent of its critical role positions now have one to two employees who have been identified as successors. Organizationally, the goal is to promote Emerging Leaders within 18 months; 45 percent of Emerging Leaders have been promoted within the 18-month period. These account for 30 percent of the total promotions in the organization last year. 

Lorri Freifeld is the editor/publisher of Training magazine. 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.