Getting a leadership development program established in any organization is high order. This is especially true if you are starting from scratch.

While some people will naturally become champions, more often people will be either neutral or even skeptical about such an initiative. You can also visit www.ldpconnect.com/ldp-summit/ to look for leadership development conferences.

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Not until you can start to demonstrate results will you be able to get this embedded into the culture. Thus, be prepared for a long-term effort. Here are a few ideas to help you get started:

Executive commitment at the top: Most CEOs, when asked, will normally acknowledge that people are one of their most important assets.

Surprisingly, many of them don't spend much time on "people" management or "talent" management as it is commonly called in larger organizations.

Get executive support for a steering committee: When the CEO commits, then ask him or her to sponsor a steering committee. The committee might include several other executives and perhaps some high-potential middle managers.

While it is OK to have someone from HR on the committee, it is most important that the committee not be dominated by HR types.

Research your organization's needs: Try to define the organization's needs. Identify the key positions and what the future needs will be for filling them.

If you have not identified them before, then start with those positions that are direct reports to the CEO and one level down.

Identify your high potential people, and try to gather some basic information about them.

Research the best practices: If you are just starting a leadership development program, then get the steering committee to spend some time researching best practices.