What if the key to having great leadership at your company was to hire great people and leave them alone? Many companies employ just this model with surprising results: Within the first 18 months in a new role, 38-50% of new leaders will fail to meet the expectations of their superiors.
OK. How about if we make a really great open enrollment management and leadership skills training curriculum available? We’ll even make both online and classroom based versions of the materials available! That should do it, right? Probably not. Our experience shows that companies with loosely guided leadership development programs produce leaders who lack courage to make tough decisions, confidence to take appropriate risks, humility to learn from others and change direction when needed and the skillset to lead and inspire teams. NOT the ultimate goal.
In fact, leadership development is most effective when organizations offer a thoughtful mix of both formal and informal development options that are well supported by managed leadership development programs embedded in the culture of an organization and championed by senior leadership. That’s a lot to accomplish with one program. But, the fun doesn’t stop there. Great leadership development programs don’t focus on mastery of the status quo, but on preparing leaders for their next assignments – thereby steadily moving the entire organization forward.
Many companies already realize they have some work to do if they are going to ensure they have the right leaders on the right trajectories at the right times. They know they need to evaluate their overall leadership development approach to ensure leaders at all levels have development paths to follow. But, it’s a complex task!
So where on earth do you start? A great starting point is a leadership impact study and program review. This will help you evaluate the current state of leadership development offerings and determine where leaders need more support or direction. Once it’s clear what your organization has, it’s time to see what you need. A leadership competency appraisal will reveal what skills and experiences you’ll need in order to be able to respond with agility to changes in market and operating environments. To check your work and make sure you’re on the right track, you can then ask a couple of key questions: “Are we preparing the right people to be ready at the right time to do the right job?” and “How do our findings so far measure up to our strategy?” A capability assessment measuring the alignment between leadership readiness and business strategy will inform your plan for creating a healthy pipeline to develop the right leaders to sustain the organization over time.
If you were to poll your HR executive staff, do you think they would be among the roughly 1 in 5 who believe their organization has a healthy and effective leadership development program? Or, would they be more likely to be in the group whose leadership pipeline lacks courage, confidence, humility and the skillset to lead and inspire teams?
Contact us today to talk about how we can help you evaluate or build your next leadership development strategy.