45 Great Names for Leadership Development Programs

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45 Great Names for Leadership Development Programs

A good name for your leadership development program is one of the most powerful ways to build momentum around your program. A good name builds a sense of purpose and vision that people can rally around together.

That said, coming up with a great name for a leadership development program isn’t easy. Even famous authors struggle to find the right titles for their books. The original book title of To Kill A Mockingbird was Atticus and Of Mice and Men was originally Something That Happened.

But don’t worry, we built out this comprehensive guide to make coming up with a great name faster and easier. We based it on our work and interviews with world-class Leadership Development professionals. It includes a list of 45 selected program names from highly successful programs, the top three qualities that make up a good program name, and a six-step process to follow as you name your program

Examples of Names for Leadership Development Programs

To put together this list of 45 program titles from top leadership development programs, we crowdsourced a survey on LinkedIn, we reviewed names from clients, and we pulled names of programs from our library of leadership development interviews. 

The point being, we hand-selected a great list of names so that you don’t have to sift through bad ones. When we could, we also provided brief descriptions of the programs so that you can see how the name fits the goal of the program. Turn to these for inspiration as you set out to create your own name.

  1. PREP: Procurement Rotation Experience Program, at Hewlett-Packard.
    Dr. Stephen Robertson, currently the Chief People Officer at Idaho Youth Ranch, described this program from his work at Hewlett-Packard: “It was a four-cycle, 6-month rotation program through different parts of the global procurement function and participants were fondly known as the Preps.” 
  2. LFR: Leading for Results, at Northwestern Mutual. 
  3. Activate, at Northwestern Mutual.
  4. Accelerate, at Northwestern Mutual.
  5. LWI: Leading With Influence, at Northwestern Mutual.
  6. Career Catalyst Program, at AllianceBernstein.
    Their Global Head of Diversity and Inclusion, Janessa Cox-Irvin, described this program as “a unique, six-month coaching program where we pair female VPs and VPs of color with SVP-level coaches.”  
  7. Manager Accelerator, at Intuit.
    Intuit’s Directors of Talent Development, Joel Constable and Dr. Barrett Keene, described this program as, “An interactive, 6-week experience designed to enable managers to build capability and confidence in setting and accomplishing quality goals.”
  8. The Leadership Challenge, at Conga.
  9. Becoming Your Best Global Leadership, at Reckitt.
  10. Playmakers, at DraftKing.
  11. IMLDP: Information Management Leadership Development Program, at Johnson & Johnson.
  12. The Leadership Academy, at Abbott.
  13. Institute for Leadership and Development, at Abbott.
  14. Leadership with a Cause, at Abbott.
  15. KELI: Kellogg Executive Leadership Institute, at Kellogg College of Northwestern University.
  16. Leading at Liberty, at Liberty Mutual.
    Their Executive Vice President, Chief Talent and Enterprise Services Officer, Melanie Foley, described this program as “For all managers. All managers go in with cohorts that have similar levels of responsibility.” 
  17. New Manager Journey, at goeasy.
    Their Director of Leadership and Employee Engagement, Kim Ellis, described this program saying, “we want new managers to really be thinking about the kind of managers they want to be in the future…in order to grow as a leader you have to be deliberate about the kind of leader that you want to be.”  
  18. goforum, at goeasy.
    Kim Ellis described this program as, “Our mini MBA for both emerging leaders and new-ish leaders in the organization.”
  19. LEAD: Lead, Engage, Accelerate Development, at TIBCO.
    Their Chief Learning Officer, Dr. KimLoan Tran, described this program as their “first-time manager program.” 
  20. NCAA Career Sports Forum, at NCAA.
    Their Director of Leadership Development, DeeDee Merritt, described this program as, “an educational opportunity that we offer to junior and senior-level student-athletes who have expressed an interest in finding out what a career looks like in the college athletics landscape.” 
  21. The Pathway Program, at NCCA.
    Merritt described this as for “our senior-level athletics administrator programs designed to assist those who are at the ready to become directors of athletics or a conference commissioner.” 
  22. BILD U, at Boerhinger Ingelheim.
    Their Director of Leadership and Business Development, Todd Billingsley described this program as “for individual contributors who are interested in growth but not necessarily sure they want to become a people leader.” 
  23. NLD: New Leader Development Program, at Boehringer Ingelheim.
    Director of Leadership and Business Development, Todd Billingsley described this program as “to help current leadership select and prepare high potentials for their first manager role.”
  24. KSA: Keysight Strategy Activation training, at Keysight Technologies.
    Leslie Camino, their senior director of corporate leadership development, culture, and DEI, described this program as being designed to “activate the minds and hearts of our employees to execute on the strategy.” 
  25. MLS: Manager Learning Series, at Sun Life U.S.
    Their Senior Vice President of Human Resources, Tammi Wortham described this program for managers as their “monthly webinar series.” 
  26. Custom Executive Development, at Groupon.
    For VP+ employees either being onboarded from outside the organization and for those promoted internally. 
  27. LEAD: Leading Effectively through Accountability and Development, at NextGen Healthcare.
  28. EXPLORE, at Ping Identity.
    An “aspiring leaders” program. 
  29. ACHIEVE, at Ping Identity.
    The program teaches leaders how to nurture the development of high performers on their teams and retain Ping’s top talent. 
  30. LEAD, at Ping Identity.
    This program is for leaders entering a leadership role for the first time. 
  31. LEAD: Leadership Exploration and Discovery, at Deltek.
    Described by Jodi Atkinson, their Director of Global Learning as being “For all employees.” 
  32. LAMP: Leadership Accelerator Management Program, at Deltek.
    For new managers.
  33. LEAP: Leadership Engagement with Awesome People, at Deltek.
    For selected Director level leaders. 
  34. Aspire, at Main Line Health.
    For high potentials.
  35. Empower, at Main Line Health.
    For mid-level managers. 
  36. GOLD: Global organizational leadership development, at Bausch Health Companies.
  37. Executive Edge, at Bausch Health Companies.
  38. Business Impact Leadership, at Bausch Health Companies.
  39. Emerging Leaders, at Bausch Health Companies.
  40. Frontline Leaders, at Bausch Health Companies.
  41. Impact, at Bausch Health Companies.
  42. Launch, at Deltek.
    An onboarding program.
  43. LIFE: Leading Innovation For Employees, at Deltek. 
  44. Leadership Foundations, at Associa.
  45. Up, at Associa. For employees to acquire leadership skills and promote internally.

Executive Leadership Program Names

Here are some examples specific to executive leadership development programs: 

  • KELI: Kellogg Executive Leadership Institute, at Kellogg College, Northwestern University.
  • Custom Executive Development, at Groupon.
  • Executive Edge, at Bausch Health Companies.

Emerging Leaders Program Names

Here are some examples specific to emerging leader development programs

  • LEAD: Lead, Engage, Accelerate Development, at TIBCO.
  • EXPLORE, at Ping Identity.
  • BILD U, at Boerhinger Ingelheim.
  • Emerging Leaders, at Bausch Health Companies.

Employee Development Program Names

Here are some examples specific to employee development programs: 

  • LEAD: Leadership Exploration and Discovery, at Deltek. 
  • LIFE: Leading Innovation For Employees, at Deltek. 
  • Leadership Foundations, at Associa. 
  • Up, at Associa. 

As you set out to come up with your own name, keep the following three qualities of a good name top of mind. 

Quality #1: Clear Names for Development Programs

If you’re crunched for time or struggling to come up with a name you like, start with clarity. Even simple, dry names like LD1 (Leadership Development 1) or IMLDP (Information Management Leadership Development Program) succeed at telling participants the purpose of your program. 

Showing your purpose is not only essential; it’s a fundamental quality of a well-chosen name. Many classic novels run high on the clarity factor—War and Peace, Pride and Prejudice, and Old Man and the Sea. Each of these titles answers one simple question: What is this book about? Ask the same question about your program and you’ll be well on your way to choosing a great name. 

There’s a reason the response below has 20,000 views in response to the question, “What should I name my leadership development program?” 

names-for-leadership-development-programs-sample

Dunbar’s program name, “Catalyst” is clear. It tells you what the leadership program will strive to do and why leaders should care. Their program is a catalyst for your work and leadership and will make you a catalyst to the people around you. 

Quality #2: Catchy Names for Development Programs

The name “Catalyst” is more than just clear. It’s also a unique one-word name that sticks in your head. It’s catchy. 

DraftKing’s “Playmakers” training program name accomplishes “catchy” by taking the organization’s work in sports and building it into their leadership program’s name. 

A third way to come up with a catchy name is to create an acronym (a significant portion of the above programs are all acronyms). An acronym is an easy way to pack a longer, more descriptive name into something quick, catchy, and memorable. Use acronyms like GROW, which refers to “Get Ready for Opportunities at Work,” or LEAD, which is NextGen Healthcare’s acronym for “Leading Effectively through Accountability and Development.” 

Quality #3: Innovative Names for Development Programs

Innovative names are eye-catching and draw people in. Leadership Development program names that achieve a creative feeling tend to be surprising, unique, or something participants are especially interested in.

For example, the restaurant management software company Toast named their leadership development program “Becoming a Butter Manager.” After great success, they then named their next program “The Jam.” Draftking’s “Playmakers” Program is another example. 

A Six-Step Process to Come Up With a Unique Name for Your Leadership Development Program

Crafting a great name for a program isn’t exactly formulaic, but following a process can help you generate creative ideas and avoid getting stumped. 

Think of a great name as being like a gymnastics score. Gymnastics routines are judged based on three criteria: 1) How artistic it is, 2) how well-executed it is, and 3) how difficult it is. You don’t have to be perfect across the board to get a good score, but you do have to strike a good balance. 

Similarly, a good leadership development program name should strike a balance between being 1) clear, 2) catchy, and 3) innovative. These are the same qualities we just covered. To come up with a clear, catchy, and innovative name for your program, follow this six-step process: 

  1. Brainstorm key ideas about your program. Ask yourself: 
    • Who is attending?
    • Why are they attending?
    • What is the significance of this program? 
    • What is the one thing you want leaders to take away? 
    • What makes this program different and unique?
    • Why should leaders want to attend? 
    • How will this program shift people’s mindsets? 
    • How will this program improve company culture? 
    • If everything went perfectly, how would your people and your organization change for the better? 

Write your answers down as bulleted notes by theme. Don’t be picky. The idea is to gather core ideas, not to turn one of these bullets into your program name.

  1. Come up with at least one name for your program per bullet. The idea is still not to be perfect; it’s to start to transform ideas into names. Use phrases and typical names. Draw from the list of examples earlier in this article. Don’t get caught up in perfection.
  2. Add to each of your names from Step 2. Look up similar words and concepts. Make your previous program names more interesting. 
  3. Get creative. Mix and match program names. Cut boring parts out. Combine different names.
  4. Step away. Once you feel like you’re too “in it” to tell which names are good, step away.
  5. Come back and choose a name. Likely, one or two will stand out to you as the name of your program. 

Additional Sources for Naming Inspiration: 

You Know You’ve Succeeded When Your Name Becomes a Brand

Creating a name for your leadership development program is ultimately about building a brand. A good brand is creative, catchy, and clear. It connects with your leaders, giving them a common language, purpose, and experience to bond and rally around.  

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CEO of LEADx, and NY Times bestselling author, of Great Leaders Have No Rules and Employee Engagement 2.0. Get a FREE trial of the LEADx platform at https://leadx.org/preview.