It's estimated that U.S. companies spend over $14 billion annually on leadership development. Match that number to the abundant and growing research that finds most leadership development to be ineffective and the conclusion is a phenomenal amount of waste.
As disheartening as this may seem, the situation does not need to be that dire. Properly designed and executed leadership development can make a difference.
There is now an opportunity for a significant retooling of leadership development, particularly in the ability to build the leaders needed for today's unique business environment. And the timing couldn't be better. The U.S. and Europe, in particular, are facing a "silver tsunami" of aging leaders ready to retire . . . and a smaller supply of talent ready to replace them. It is time for a complete make-over of the approach used to create the leaders needed in today's volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous business world.
The new model is called Strategy Driven Leadership Development (SDLD).
Strategy Driven Leadership Development
Strategy Driven Leadership Development is an
evidence-based, deliberate, and systematic effort that involves the following:
- Reviewing and clarifying the business strategy with all stakeholders involved in leadership development
- Describing the demand that business strategy places on organization's leaders by translating the strategy into a few mission-critical leadership competencies
- Identifying and assessing the capacity of leaders at all levels to meet the demands through robust talent assessments
- Accelerating the development of mission-critical competencies through Intentional Leadership Development
No talent initiative can be effective unless it is built from a specific strategic foundation. And no two organizations have exactly the same strategy. As a result, the demands that strategy places on an organization in terms of needed capabilities or leadership competencies are not the same. Nor do different organizations start with the same existing set of talent; each organization's current capability is different.
Strategy Driven Leadership Development is a focused process that drives business results. The expected impact is defined up front. It begins with the end in mind and builds the foundation to answer the questions, "Why are we doing this?" and "Is it worth it?"
One of the most significant components of the SDLD model is reflected in the approach to Intentional Leadership Development. In short, Intentional Leadership Development can be described as:
- Establishing a strong personal and business case for development,
- Identifying and targeting the critical few leadership competencies which will have the greatest payoff for the individual learner and the organization,
- Creating an Intentional Development Plan that is built into daily work and involves regular feedback, reflection and progress tracking, and,
- Assuring that new competencies are effectively applied in real-life situations so that the developmental experiences are positive (additive) to a career, setting the stage for further development.
Aligning talent strategy to business strategy as highlighted in the SDLD model has been shown to have clear positive benefits. A nationwide study of over 1,000 publicly-traded firms conducted by Mark Huselid found a positive impact of strategic talent practices on important employee outcomes and also on corporate financial performance. The study determined that a one-standard-deviation increase in high performance workplace practices was associated with a 7.05 percent decrease in turnover and $27,044 more in sales per employee. In addition, that small change in key practices was linked to $18,641 more in market value and $3,814 more in profits per employee.