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All that glitters is not gold: Maximizing the impact of executive assessment and development efforts

Allan H. Church (PepsiCo, Inc., Purchase, New York, USA)
Matthew Del Giudice (PepsiCo, Inc., Purchase, New York, USA)
Alyson Margulies (PepsiCo, Inc., Purchase, New York, USA)

Leadership & Organization Development Journal

ISSN: 0143-7739

Article publication date: 7 August 2017




Formal assessment and development of executives have become standard practices in organizations. There is a need, however, to determine what levers are available to maximize the impact and return on investment of initiatives. The purpose of this paper is to present outcomes and learnings from a multi-method approach to evaluating behavior change following the implementation of PepsiCo’s Senior Leader Development Center, a comprehensive process designed to accelerate capability at the executive level.


Learnings are presented based on analyses from three independent data sources collected throughout the 18-month program: behavioral change ratings from managers, direct reports, and peers via a 360 survey; attitudinal measures from participants’ post-program completion; and third-party observations by an internal facilitator.


Overall, findings indicate that while program rigor and content do matter as baseline components, principles of participant engagement and commitment emerged as most essential to delivering programs with sustained impact.

Research limitations/implications

This case is based on leaders in a high-touch multi-trait multi-method assessment and development program in one organization. Additional research is needed to explore in other settings.

Practical implications

Results and implications are organized by each of the four key stages of the assessment and development process: conduct data-based assessments, deliver feedback and insights, build the development plan, and take action to implement the plan. Findings and recommendations for practice regarding each stage are discussed.


Few case studies or applied research exist that focus on the execution and outcomes associated with senior executive assessment and development programs in major corporations. This paper offers findings regarding the overall impact of such a program and key learnings from its sustained effort in a complex multi-national organization. The discussion and implications in this paper may directly influence how other organizations design and manage future talent management interventions with similar types of senior-level populations.



The authors would like to acknowledge the contributions of the following current and former additional members of PepsiCo’s Global Talent Assessment and Development Center of Excellence who led participant sessions as part of the SLDC program: Arlene Green, Rebecca Levine, Felix J. Lopez, Lily Maissen, Christopher T. Rotolo, Michael D. Tuller, and Cara Wade.


Church, A.H., Del Giudice, M. and Margulies, A. (2017), "All that glitters is not gold: Maximizing the impact of executive assessment and development efforts", Leadership & Organization Development Journal, Vol. 38 No. 6, pp. 765-779.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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