Horizontal vs Vertical Development

Horizontal vs vertical development

Back in the past, most corporate programs go with horizontal development, which is focused on subject-matter expertise and technical competencies. But today, the trend shifted into vertical development, which is also called soft skills for the creation of a balance. Now, why don’t you read more to know a lot of things about this matter?

Different companies have the responsibility of training their employees to guarantee that they possess the needed skills in completing their daily jobs. This is done because companies are all looking forward to becoming more successful through competencies and skills. Now, these training programs can be established around two development types:

  • Horizontal Development or the Subject-Matter Expertise and
  • Vertical Development or the Adaptive and agile responses to an increased authority level

The Mind as Machine

The mind as machine

Through the utilization of a computer-based analogy, we can claim that horizontal development helps effectively in increasing the size of a mental hard drive while vertical development, on the other hand, is responsible for boosting the power and speed of the processors. Thus, having both means that a company will be in better situations when it comes to analyzing and utilizing a vast amount of stored data on the hard drive, as well as serves as a way to better prepare when facing unexpected changes within the working environment.

Horizontal development focuses on expertise, while vertical development focuses on helping the knowledge be done into practices or actions. Also, horizontal development is much more commonplace and will stay the same for the whole period. So, employees must have met the basic skills needed to reach the demands of their acquired position. However, there are highly-developed soft skills in the critical stage as the primary research in the business world is becoming more volatile, resulting in agile, and only effective problem-solving is key.

Vertical Development and Soft Skills

The so-called vertical development relates to how the interaction with different authority levels work. This is the learning technique that is proven to effectively help when it comes to the development of personal skills needed to thrive in an evolving working environment constantly. Also, here, old assumptions are being tested as the starting point and lead to the testing of new hypotheses.

Vertical Development Programs

Vertical Development Program

There are training programs that emphasize soft skills, and they all have one common thing, and that is they assess the needs individually depending on the past behaviors. This became one of the efficient key methods used by trainers in shaping their teams, as well as to overcome change resistance. Also, University of Harvard experts have successfully developed a management and leadership program entitled Immunity to Change.

This is the program that utilizes a mapping system to effectively understand the way employees perceive future changes and to understand why the necessary changes need to be implemented. Moving on, below are the three steps needed in allowing learners and trainees to identify the importance of being immune to changes carefully. In this way, they can be transformed into the best versions of themselves as required by every company they wish to be part of.

First Step: Position Analysis

In order to learn a lot of things about change, the mentioned program developed by several Harvard experts aims only to recommend and identify areas wherein changes might be coming on their way. It’s like an alarm whenever there are potential obstacles. An example of this is when instructions are given faster and better before a delay has started to kick in.

  • Motivations: The need to micromanage and simply the fear of disappointment
  • Obstacles: Giving unessential information or detail overload
  • Stumbling Blocks: Moving forward too far from the other way through not providing critical details that may result in negative things on the performing teams

Second Step: Experiment Designing

The second step is where preconceived business ideas are being tested. The program is the highly recommended establishment of several experiments. These tests will be the start of a safe situation, and once things got wrong and uncontrolled, they won’t leave any devastating results. Also, there must be included actions to manage the situations related to the main issue normally.

Experience analysis then can effectively and hugely help when it comes to determining the actions’ results, leading to an easier way of resolving the problem. Ideally, there must be an involved individual whose expertise is on the observation and assessment of experiment results.

Third Step: Assumption Challenging Process

Third, on the line is we have an assumption challenging process since false assumptions are used to hold back any desired change. However, there must be resistance to specific tend changes in order to be diminished over time. This then allows change to come in naturally. Also, the Harvard Program had its lit when it comes to the internalized obstacles.

A lot of leadership programs may operate assuming that showing the customers how to lead. Then it means that everyone can do leadership in personal ways and themes. The only difficult change here is when employees’ hard work and tiredness are associated with the limited ways as creators of meaning aligned to the current development level.

Identification of Negative Assumptions

Negative Assumptions

To identify negative assumptions, there must be both awareness and knowledge. This is to allow the employees and even we to showcase the assumption deserving of being ignored whatever happens. An example of this is when managers made an assumption that they can produce something and find out that they simply can’t. This may fall into being outside the skillset. Conversely speaking, the environment of a company may then discourage the managers from acting their responsibilities or other else as they felt like they don’t own any freedom or power to do so.


To effectively sum up vertical training is through helping people, especially employees, to think of a notch. This can help them identify and solve problems and accept that there are simply things that might not be solved. Also, vertical development is proven helpful in strengthening an individual’s ability and then, later on, apply it to the horizontal training for the application. On the other hand, horizontal development helps in motivating the employees to perform with expertise and technical knowledge.


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