This blog is part 2 if you would like to read part 1 first click here.
I left you wondering what recommendations or answers I had for the dynamic shifts that are occurring within the field of leadership and executive development in my latest blog. My apologies but I didn’t want to burden you with a 500 – 600 word reading effort.
Which of the shifts have you seen greater progress within your business? Which shifts needs to move further faster, but seems stalled at the moment? Are there other important shifts you see happening in your organization? I’d appreciate hearing from you by leaving a response or sending an e-mail (TECChair@LoichingerAdvantage.com).
Senior executives and business owners hold the keys for setting expectations, balancing requests for organizational investments, and holding leaders accountable for the leadership behaviors and results.
Let’s recap the emerging perspectives that your business or organization should be shifting to:
- Leadership development needs to be seen as an investment in your organizations future and growth.
- Leadership development has greater success when it is intentional, planned and integrated with the strategic priorities of the business.
- Leadership development for the executive team is more important than ever, and should not be lightly dismissed.
- Investments in leadership and executive coaching will pay higher returns than any other infrastructure investment you can make in the business; however, you need to do it well, and also look at the losses that occur when not making the investment.
I imagine you already have taken steps to grow the leadership pipeline of talent in your business and organization. If not, here are several action steps you may want to consider in your early stages of investment:
- Budget: Begin by identifying and setting aside a percentage of payrolls for wise investments in your leadership and executive development. The average investment for overall training and talent budgets is just short of 5%.
- Define: Bring in an outside resource to help define what leadership skills and competencies are key to your organizations success. You don’t have to start from scratch, but you do need to winnow the large list down to the critical few.
- Assessment: Once you have defined and rolled out the leadership initiative to those affected, assess where leaders at each level are within your organization. That will help define the needs and strengths for each level: first level supervision, management, and executive level.
- Plan: One action I highly encourage after leaders have gone through a 360-degree assessment is developing an individual leadership development plan. This will help them prioritize a few goals, align those goals to important company plans, and build an action plan that can be tracked. I believe you will gain better results from effective development planning, than worrying whether you have the right performance review system in place.
- System: Nearly every company has a performance management system for the employee and managers, but the higher you travel up the leadership pipeline, the more it vanishes into obscurity. At the very least, define how your system will attract, orient, develop and help leaders at broad levels to perform.
- Outcome: I encourage you to move beyond measuring training activity – how many people attended training, and whether the trainer entertained them. Measure leadership growth and impact. If you completed an assessment, you can re-assess in 18 months. If leadership plans were aligned with strategic initiatives, assess how well those initiatives met company objectives.
Success begins with the plan, perspective and the goals that we set in motion. Remember the cycle of organizational improvement? The Shewart Cycle became one of the most prominent: Plan – Do – Check – Act. Begin your planning with what you hope to achieve and a strong business case for why. Start small. Begin with those who want to accept the role of leaders and are accepting of your leadership development efforts. Make sure leaders at each state of the leadership pipeline are engaged. Pilot and test each new aspect of your development system. They won’t be perfect. Adjust, improve and keep moving forward. Above all, be clear about your expectation, and offer leaders choices to achieve the end results. It’s a great journey. Enjoy the ride.
Dan Loichinger is the founder and president of Loichinger Advantage LLC. The Madison, Wisconsin based firm delivers proprietary executive coaching, leadership assessments and TEC Executive Roundtables for owners and executives of growing organizations.
Clients value our ability to increase their leadership effectiveness, improve their strategic insight, accelerate change while sustaining results, and increase their competitive advantage. Together, we deliver proven leadership growth.