What is Leadership Development?
Developing the next generation of leaders is a hot topic for many of my clients, large and small, for-profit and non-profit. Work force demographics (read retiring baby boomers) are a big driver for this growing interest along with the changing demands of everyone's marketplace.
It is interesting to me that each client seems to have a different idea in mind when we start to discuss leadership development. To get us all on the same page, we define Leadership Development as a deliberate and systematic process to:
- Identify critical leadership competencies,
- Identify pools of high-potential candidates at all levels of the organization,
- Accelerate the development of mission-critical leadership competencies through intentional development, and
- Regularly measure progress.
(Regular readers of this newsletter will notice that this definition is very close to my definition of succession management. That's no coincidence. I view them as being one in the same.)
I've highlighted some terms in the definition to emphasize what I view as the critical components of leadership development that makes a difference.
Leadership Development should be viewed as a process, not a one time event. That process should be driven from and linked closely to the business strategy.
If you don't get the competencies right, than nothing else matters. The competencies must be future-focused and clearly define high-performance and high-potential.
Leadership development should focus on pools of talent at all levels of the organization and not just at the top. You actually start feeding the pipeline of talent for your organization with every entry-level hire that you make.
Development must be intentional. Mission-critical leadership competencies are not developed through training. Leadership development has more to do with individualized development planning that is supported by a range of non-traditional tools such as coaching, targeted rotational assignments, mentoring and development cohorts.
Properly implemented leadership development has been shown to have a positive ROI. However, the process and its impact should be measured to assure that it is on track and creating the desired business results.
If you and your company are looking to create the next generation of leaders, make sure that your definition of the process is clear.
What Makes Leadership Development Effective?
Before a company embarks on a Leadership Development process, it would be beneficial to understand what works and what doesn't work. Here's a short list of factors to keep in mind.
Focus in competencies critical to the organization's success.
As I mentioned above, if you don't get the competencies right than nothing else you do in the development process matters. Competencies are behaviors, not styles or personality traits, that are related to success. The leadership behaviors that reflect the mission, values and strategy of your business need to be defined and agreed upon.
Leadership Development should be built-in, not bolted-on.
The best development comes from learning from a variety of challenging experiences. Those experiences should be real and current business challenges that call for the application of the target competencies.
Integrate development with other talent processes.
This another place that competencies can play a role. What leaders target in their development should be the same things that are targeted in hiring, promotion, performance management, workforce planning, etc. All the talent processes should be aligned toward the same thing - building the capability of the organization.
Who Is Taking Over?
Developing Your Next Generation of Leaders
Still time to register!
The topic applies to non-profit and for-profit alike
Workshop presented by Michael Couch and Richard Citrin
Bayer Center for Non-Profit Management
Robert Morris University
Tuesday, March 26 from 9 a.m. - noon
Many for-profits and non-profits are facing a changing of the guard in leadership. In addition, the demands placed on leadership are ever changing. What assurances exist that the next crop of leaders will be ready to assume the ranks of responsibility in growing your nonprofit towards the fulfillment of your mission?
This workshop will provide a systematic process to identify the key elements of what makes a great leader for your nonprofit, where leaders come from within the organization and how best to develop them so they will have the skills and competencies to assume the role when their day arrives.
Fee: $65 ($55 if paid online)
Click here to register or for more information
What Are You Up To?
I get that question all the time so here is a quick summary of a few of our recent projects.
Challenge: The Leadership Team for a manufacturing facility wanted to significantly improve their site's safety performance.
What We Did: We worked with the leadership team to identify the leadership competencies that would be critical to driving safety performance. We then built a step-by-step plan to improve the safety culture of the site that integrated the mission-critical leadership competencies.
Challenge: A regional human service non-profit wanted to accelerate the development of their next generation of leaders so that the organization could increase its capacity to face a variety of challenges.
What We Did: Assessed the organization's talent and created Acceleration Cohorts of early career, high-potential leaders. The cohort members jointly assessed their leadership capabilties then created Individual Development Plans that targeted specific business challenges. We then provided coaching support and facilitated regular cohort meetings where progress on the Plans was reviewed, development barriers were addressed, and peers provided mentoring and support.