What is Final Stretch?
FINAL STRETCH is a leadership development program, custom-built for startups.
Our clients are self-assured startup founders, who want to create capable 2nd-line leaders below them.
Final Stretch makes 2 claims:
- Most program participants will become visibly better leaders, even as the program is in progress
- This change will sustain over the long term.
These are big claims, given that most LDPs fail to achieve these objectives.
To back up this claim, check out what our first customer says:
This program brings together all the success factors for real change!
Hyper-customisation: The program is 100% based on 1-on-1 interactions between mentor and learner. The agenda is also jointly set by the Founder and the 2nd-tier manager. This ensures 100% relevance and manager’s buy-in.
Bias for action: The program goes beyond telling people what they must do. It handholds them through implementation too. That means you see concrete changes in their workplace practices and habits.
Long-duration & high-touch: Participants speak to a mentor EVERY WEEK FOR 3 MONTHS. This intensity overcomes inertia and provides ample time for change of habits.
Do you see how different this is from the usual weekend MDP? This difference is responsible for our success rate of 75%.
Which leadership capabilities does the program build?
Learners work on the critical few abilities that matter to them; which they haven’t had a chance to develop so far.
They can choose from an extensive menu, which this program provides.
Here’s how our past clients chose what was most relevant to them:
“My BU Heads have moved towards faster decision making, better communication and more clarity around their roles“, says Advait Gupt, Co-Founder & CEO of Kulfi Collective, a digital media startup
“I slowly saw my team get more independent. Both speed and quality of decision making of the team has improved“, says Jofi Joseph, MD of Promethean Power, a tech startup.
“By the end of the program, I saw these changes in my core team:
– More long term orientation to planning
– Committing to deadlines more carefully and then working with sense of urgency“,
says Abhimanyu Bhosale, Co-Founder & CEO of CrelioHealth, a SaaS startup in MedTech space.
How is the program structured?
The program has 3 clear stages, as the illustration below shows.
The bulk of the program builds new habits. The key to building these habits is the Plan-Do-Review cycle.
Week after week, mentor and participant plan together, then experiment with changes, review whether it worked and keep improving.
The mentor meets the participant either at the office premises or online, depending on the need and COVID-related restrictions. Typically, one meeting every week, with additional interactions where needed.
Is it really worth it?
There are several alternatives to such an intense program.
Some cost less money, but hardly give you any returns. Others are just impossible to sustain continuously.
Final Stretch eliminates hidden costs (like absence from work); and amplifies benefits by fine-tuning the learning for every individual participant.
One customer who grappled with this question says…
“There was no clear way to attribute a value to this entire exercise initially. But coming out of this entire program, I think tremendous value has been added“
Watch him describe how we delivered a 100% success rate at his startup!
Do Founders also participate in the program?
Only indirectly. Core team members (who directly report to the Founder) are the main participants of the program.
But Founders support the program from outside, in 2 ways:
1. At the start, they specify which capabilities each core team member must develop. This is done via a chat between Founder, Mentor and Participant.
2. Intermittently, they provide additional feedback to the mentor, about the changes they’re observing in the core team; and where tweaks need to be made.
Status of the Final Stretch program
As of Dec 2022, the program is on a long pause, while I continue my impact work with Stanford Seed.