Invest in Effective Leadership Development

invest in effective leadership developmentAs of late, leadership has been a hot topic simply because of the presidential election. But according to a recent Deloitte study, the subject has also been receiving significant attention by many companies, particularly in the last year or so. The study found that 56% of executives think their companies aren’t ready to meet today’s leadership needs. In response, they’ve been beefing up spending on leadership development. Last year alone, companies spent $31 billion on this area of growth, increasing funding for such programs by 10% since 2015. But that doesn’t mean organizations are getting the results. We often work with clients who’ve been burned by leadership development solutions that aren’t sustainable or impactful. Companies come to us a bit skeptical because they’ve not experienced real, meaningful change for the better. Why? As a recent Forbes article highlighting a Deloitte study points out, leadership development has got to offer ongoing structure, such as a proven accountability system. Only within this framework and through such a tool can leadership development become something effective, credible and worthy of your trust.

Here are some additional findings referenced in both the study and the article:

Consistency is key. As stated in the Forbes article, “One mistake organizations make when it comes to leadership development is sporadic or inconsistent development opportunities. For example, leaders take hour-long online seminars or employees only meet with managers at annual reviews.” What then happens, as with any significant time lapse or lack of regular accountability meetings, the ball gets dropped. People revert to old habits, good and bad. And all the resources invested in those efforts get wasted. After that, the very thought of leadership development gets put into question next time it comes up as a suggested opportunity for improvement. And it’s no wonder why. To truly grow and sustain results, people need that consistency factor. It’s essential to making the accountability effective and drive lasting leadership growth.

Strategy and goals must support one another. Leadership development can’t take place in some silo. “A successful leadership development strategy must also align with business goals,” the Forbes article states. In other words, the ways in which you, as the leader, are developing yourself, your team and your organization must connect with and reinforce the organization’s core goals. How? It’s done by focusing on the Vital Few and ignoring or delegating the trivial many, a model for leadership based on The Pareto Principle. And, again, the structure for doing all this is a proven accountability system that provides measurables for accountability, establishes disciplines, builds the right habits, and demands a relentless focus on what matters relative to core goals.

Real change is culture-deep. To work, it’s got to be pervasive throughout the entire organization, not just embraced at the top. In fact, “the most successful organizations take steps to align the business with leadership development, creating a strong pipeline that understands what it is now, what it wants to be, and how to get there,” Forbes states. Successful organizations are those that push the accountability down into the organization and get their people on board with everything from the vision to the mission, goals, strategies, performance measures, and that critical ownership in their responsibilities. They realize that growth has got to be intrinsic to the culture—in other words, a company-wide effort and undertaking where everyone’s a believer. Like many of MAP’s clients, today’s successful organizations get all departments, their staff and key aspects of the business aligned with leadership development goals, strategies, etc., so there’s clarity and continuity from the top down.

What #1 aspect of your leadership development has led to sustainable results?

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