Due to demographic trends, the next few years will see a further generational change at senior and middle management levels. In addition, the rapidly increasing digitalization and further globalization will pose completely new challenges for managers.

In this context, talent management requires companies to take innovative initiatives to identify, select, develop and plan the careers of their top executives.

The “Bayerische Sparkassen“ – the Bavarian savings banks – also had to face this challenge. The Association of Bavarian Savings Banks commissioned its academy to develop an effective program to fill vacant management board positions with qualified candidates from its own staff.


In the light of the high strategic importance of the project, an evidence-based approach was aimed for. On the one hand, the latest findings from leadership research – especially on motives and competencies for effective leadership – were to be used. On the other hand, the contents of the program should closely aligned with the strategic approach of the organization to effective leadership.

The strategic management concept of the academy is embodied in the corporate strategy and, as a requirement profile, defines which attitudes and competencies (in terms of motives, personality traits, values and behaviors) are regarded as strategically relevant for management and leadership success in the company.

The apt term “TopPotenzialProgramm”, or TPP for short, was chosen for the program. The objectives were formulated as follows:
– Potential analysis and identification of specific leadership competencies for the board position,
– Practice-oriented development of key competencies for board members such as strategic leadership, change management and more
– Strengthening one’s own personality and its impact as well as building a network of peers.

Based on these objectives, the TPP is intended to provide targeted support to high-potentials of Bavarian savings banks in preparing for a position in the top management.

When developing the tools for leadership diagnostics and development, the LEaD Competence Model offered the opportunity to consider various leadership approaches relevant to success – such as charismatic or transactional and transformational leadership as well as task-, employee- and change-oriented leadership.

The Sparkassenakademie Bayern provided this with an evidence-based framework for the design of the TPP. During the development of the program, great importance was attached to applying proven methods of leadership diagnostics and development right from the start.

In a first step of the conception of the TPP, the LEaD competencies were assigned to the roles of the strategic management concept of the Sparkassenakademie Bayern. In order to check the fit between the savings bank’s management concept and the LEaD competencies, internal and external experts from the organization first examined whether the contents of the LEaD Competence Model could meet the requirements of the management concept.

The content was found to be highly compatible. The LEaD competencies have proven to be highly practical for the design of diagnostic instruments and development modules in TPP.


The chosen approach of development-oriented leadership diagnostics led to a high acceptance among the participants, their managers and personnel developers.

The reasons for this are the high requirement reference of the LEaD competence model, the transparent results of its diagnostic modules as well as the individual feedback and coaching processes which connect the modules for leadership development.

This leads to a high level of individual understanding and a realistic self-assessment of one’s own strengths and weaknesses. It also provides versatile stimuli for transfer into practice and promotes one’s willingness to change on an emotional and cognitive level.

In summary, the design of the TPP enables targeted individual development through the combination of diagnostic and development-oriented coaching and training measures based on the detailed requirements profile for a future board function.

As part of this process, versatile, structured and requirement-related options for self-dependent competence development are offered over a long period of time.

As a diagnosis-oriented development program, the TPP thus makes a significant contribution to the identification, selection, development and career planning of top managers of the Bavarian savings banks.