Personalised to your brand, business strategy and individual teams

Context = Leadership

Context is essential to effective leadership development. Without context, generic training results in generic leadership!1‑4

YourBrand™ uniquely adds context to content through:

  • A brand-specific framework, aligning leadership development to the vision, values, and goals of your business
  • Personalisation to individual teams, bringing leadership to life through the perspective of roles

And, unlike other leadership development programmes, it’s not just the presentation slides that are customised. All our professionally designed course notes are personalised too!


Context shapes meaning in leadership development, enabling the connection of content to real-world application.5

Without context, we naturally make our own assumptions…

… content is the substance; context is the set of circumstances.6

A review of research for the Center of Creative Leadership highlights the importance of context in leadership development, to build collective leadership beliefs and practices in addition to individual development.7

It also highlights how best-practice organisations closely align leadership development to the vision, values and goals of the business – a brand-specific context – and leadership development forms an integral part of the strategic planning processes.

Context = WIIFM

As adults, we learn differently than we did as children. WIIFM (what’s in it for me?) is critical to our learning experience.

The theory of Andragogy – the art and science of helping adults learn – was developed by educator Malcolm Knowles in the 1970s.

His model is based on six characteristics of adult learners and their reasons for learning, which highlights the role of WIIFM and context in learning as an adult:8,9

  • As adults we need to know why we need to learn something before we’re prepared to learn it
  • If we’re aware of how a learning situation can be applied toward real-world experiences, learning becomes more meaningful
  • We’ll only devote energy to learn something that will help us perform tasks or deal with problems that are relevant to us now
  • We learn new knowledge, behaviours, skills, values and attitudes most effectively when they are presented in the context of real-world experiences – my company, team, role and me as an individual
  • Connection between different learning experiences – delivery, approach, language etc. – increases the effectiveness knowledge retention

Context = Personalisation

Adult learning theory also recognises that as individuals, we assimilate information differently. Each of us has a distinct and consistent preferred way of organising and processing information: our cognitive preferences.

We also differ in how we prefer to have information presented to us:10,11

  • Some of us retain information better when its presented verbally (written or spoken words), others when it is presented visually (pictures, diagrams or charts)
  • Some of us prefer to acquire new information step-by-step in pieces and parts (analytic), others prefer to consider the big-picture, maintaining a global view over larger chunks of information (holistic)

The integration between workshops and workshop materials is therefore essential to the learning experience! Together they need to complete the learning loop for different learning styles.

Our YourBrand™ workbooks have been designed from the ground-up to incorporate instructional and experiential design principles, to optimise the learning experience for all learning styles. They’re also built to deliver a unique level of customisation.

Every personalisation we deliver in the workshop, we deliver in the associated workbook. With no development costs! 

Context = YourBrand™

We’ve built YourBrand™ to enable us to deliver to the four levels of customisation required for effective leadership development:12

  • Organisational Strategy
  • Brand & Culture
  • Individual Roles
  • Personal Goals

And, by using the same framework, language and personal style-based approach across all 20+ modules, we’re building on the learning at each stage of the programme.

Plus, our unique, brand-specific approach, enables us to deliver a highly contextualised leadership development programme with no development costs.

Download The YourBrand™ brochure


  1. Ulrich, D., Smallwood, N. (2007). Leadership brand: Developing customer-focused leaders to drive performance and build lasting value. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press.
  2. Ulrich, D., Smallwood, N. (2008). Aligning firm, leadership, and personal brand. Leader to Leader, 2008(47).
  3. Gurdjian, P., Halbeisen, T., Lane, K. (2014). McKinsey quarterly: Why leadership development programs fail. (
  4. Gagnon, S., Collinson, D. (2014). Rethinking global leadership development programs: The interrelated significance of power, context and identity. Organization Studies, 35.
  5. Hamilton, F., Bean, C.J. (2005). The importance of context, beliefs and values in leadership development. Business Ethics: A European Review, 14.
  6. Bolea, A., Atwater, L. (2014). Applied leadership development: Nine elements of leadership mastery. New York, NY: Routledge.
  7. McCauley, C. (2008). Leader development: A review of research. Society For Human Resource Management. (
  8. Knowles, M. S. (1984). Andragogy in action. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
  9. Knowles, M. S., Swanson, R. A., Holton, E. F. III (2005). The adult learner: The definitive classic in adult education and human resource development (6th ed.). California: Elsevier Science and Technology Books.
  10. Riding, R., Cheema, I. (1991). Cognitive styles: An overview and integration. Educational Psychology, 11(3 & 4).
  11. McLoughlin, C. (1999). The implications of the research literature on learning styles for the design of instructional material. Australian Journal of Educational Technology, 15(3).
  12. Petriglieri, G. (2016). How to really customize leadership development. Harvard Business Review: Leadership. (
Steve AndrewsContent With Context