Scalability is a word that is often connected with significant organsiational development projects. It needs to be big, and it needs to be for everybody. Sometimes there is a genuine requirement to assist large numbers of people at one time, however this type of one size fits all project can come with some unintended side effects.
Let's use a simple analogy. Imagine you have had a craving for peaches. Big, juicy, ripe peaches. They are in season and you've been wanting one for weeks. Then imagine you go into your local fruit shop and all they have is nectarines. They look ripe and sweet, so you buy some. They are delicious, but they doesn't quite hit the spot. You're still longing for that peach.
If we apply this really simple analogy to leadership development, your leaders and high potentials will all have unique development needs. For some it may be coaching skills, for others it could be time management or even creating a compelling strategic vision for their team. If all of these leaders where put through exactly the same leadership development process you may hit on the needs of some, but not all. That seems pretty logical. But what is the unintended side effect I mentioned earlier? It's the message that individuals are nothing more than a number. A sheep in the flock who is not valued or seen as unique.
What is the consequence of sending this message? Either you will have individuals sticking their necks out so far (in positive or negative ways) so as to be seen, or alternatively they will go in the opposite direction and give in to the notion that they are not valued (and therefore what's the use in putting in a strong performance?)
Think twice before implementing a one size fits all development program and ensure that you've truly understood the needs of your leaders and have provided development activities that are aligned with these.