Inspirational leadership: involving senior leaders in developing the next generation

Jack Harris (Vice President, Medical, Lilly Research Laboratories, Indianapolis, IN, USA)
B. Kim Barnes (President and CEO, Barnes & Conti Associates, Berkeley, CA, USA)

Industrial and Commercial Training

ISSN: 0019-7858

Publication date: 1 June 2006



The purpose of this paper is to share the successful experience of Lilly Research Laboratories (LRL) in engaging senior leaders in developing the next generation of leaders.


The paper describes the principles and approach used by LRL. It provides a straightforward description of the major leadership development programs with a more detailed description of a course on inspirational leadership. One of the co‐authors, a Vice President of Medical, describes his personal motivation for participating.


The commitment of a significant amount of time to their development by respected senior leaders is a powerful message and model to participants. The ability to interact in a deeply personal way with senior leaders is highly motivating to participants. The involvement of senior leaders in the design and development of programs gives them a strong interest in later participation. Being identified as an inspirational leader and having the opportunity to influence the next generation are personally rewarding to senior leaders.


LRL is one of too few organizations that have succeeded in gaining a high level of commitment from senior leaders to developing future leaders; their methodology may be valuable to other large and medium‐sized organizations.



Harris, J. and Kim Barnes, B. (2006), "Inspirational leadership: involving senior leaders in developing the next generation", Industrial and Commercial Training, Vol. 38 No. 4, pp. 196-200.

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Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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