Competing Through People  | June 2014 Edition
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MAC 2011Fixing Leadership Development


It comes as no surprise to me that a recent survey by i4cp indicated that 67% of the executive surveyed felt that their organization's leadership development efforts were not effective.  This is at a time when companies are spending billions annually on leadership development . . . with no clear return on the investment.
The reasons for the failure of a specific Leadership Development initiative can be numerous but my experience shows the following to be the top hitters.
  1. Not understanding the development need.  Many leadership development initiatives start when an executive perceives a performance gap of some kind and tells HR that, "I think we need X program".  This assessment is seldom thorough enough and doesn't consider the myriad of potential reasons for the gap.  The decision to invest in development should be evidenced-based not impression-based.
  2. Not linking the need to a clear business outcome.  We tend to jump to what development is needed without considering why the investment should be made in the first place.  I try not to take any development action until their is a clear Impact Map - what business result do we expect to see if we are going to invest this time and money?  The whole development process can then be created to assure that the impact, and therefore an ROI, is created.
  3. The Last Shiny Objective Syndrome.   A new book comes out, a pop-culture diva blogs a new catch-phrase . . . you know the drill.  Companies jump on the bandwagon for the next hot thing only to find that its worthless.  This sells a lot of books and drives up the prices of keynote addresses but seldom makes a difference in the business.
  4. Focusing on personality not behavior.  As a culture, we seem to have an obsession with personality traits.  However, personality is not very helpful when it comes to understanding and developing leadership effectiveness.  There is no such thing as a successful leadership personality profile.  Focusing on personality or other traits tends to lead people to focus on "that's the way I am" rather than understanding the behaviors they can learn to be more effective.   Build your development process on research-based, behavior-based competencies.  (Here's a free whitepaper with more on competency-based talent management.)
  5. One size fits all.  It is seldom likely that every leader or potential leader in a company has the exact same development need.  However, companies often bring all their leaders to an annual development event.  They are then surprised when the development has no impact.  Effective development is more "mass customized" and focused than that.

If you'd like to learn more, check out my free whitepaper,

Leadership Development Redefined.

What are You Up To?
Revising Strategy

The Challenge:   Non-profits need to build capacity and address a rapidly changing government and funding environment.  For-profits see growth opportunities but are focusing on organic growth along with acquisitions.  Innovation, collaboration and talent are key for both. 

What We Are Doing:
  • Working with Executive Teams and Boards to take a new look at strategy and to revise their strategic planning process
  • Helping organizations to gather and analyze stakeholder feedback to develop a broader range of input to strategy work
  • Helping organizations translate strategy into organization capabilities.

To learn more, check out my free whitepaper on

Crafting the Best Strategic Plan Ever

Living Your Mission, Vision and Values;  Strategy Deployment for the 21st Century
PHRA Strategic Workshop, July 27

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Fixing Leadership Development
What Are You Up To
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