The Leadership Development Challenge

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Global CEOs have recently said leadership development is their number one concern. Why is leadership development such a challenge? Many organizations spend too much on training that does not produce behavior change. Coaching can produce behavior change, but without comprehensive assessment, coaching can be quite inefficient and can produce the wrong behaviors. The most cost-effective leadership development programs integrate assessment, blended learning, and coaching.


  • 1. Leadership in Action The Leadership Development Challenge

2. What is the Number One Concern of CEOs Globally? In a word, LEADERSHIP! CEOs are most concerned about their ability to both improve leadership effectiveness now and build a leadership talent pipeline that can sustain their performance in the future. They are even more concerned about leadership development than customer service or operations. These findings are based on the 2012 Global CEO Survey conducted by PwC in which 1,250 leaders in 60 countries participated. 3. The Challenge of Effective Leadership Development If leadership development was easy, it is unlikely it would be CEOs biggest concern. What makes it so difficult? Why are so many organizations dissatisfied with their leadership development efforts? 4. Training Alone is Not the Answer Leadership training and understanding leadership theories are important, but they are not enough to improve leadership effectiveness because knowledge alone rarely produces behavior change. If newly acquired knowledge is not put into action, leadership effectiveness is not improved. 5. Three Elements are Required An effective leadership development program should have all three of these elements. Knowledge of leadership theories and models should be continuously enhanced, through seminars, workshops, and online learning programs. Leadership competencies, skills, and abilities are best developed through assessment and active learning activities. Behavior change is required, facilitated by a coach, to translate the leadership knowledge and competencies into actions and higher levels of performance/effectiveness. 6. Assessment is Required Ten or more years after completing college, managers have dramatically different leadership competencies and skills. This is why a comprehensive assessment of leadership competencies and skills is absolutely required so a meaningful development program, based on existing strengths and weaknesses, can be established. Without assessment, leadership development becomes a hit or miss, one size fits all proposition. 7. Coaching can Quickly Convert Potential into Actual Performance Through Behavior Change Executives refine and develop confidence in new skills and abilities through the application of trial behaviors and learning from each trial. Working with an experienced coach can maximize what is learned from each trial and significantly shorten the time required to develop both proficiency and confidence. 8. Blended Learning to Acquire Knowledge is Best Most companies take the easy way out and focus only on training programs. But these can be expensive, keep the leader away from their work too long, and typically produce little or no behavior change. Some training is warranted, but blended learning (online, 24/7 learning integrated with workshops) is the most cost/effective way to extend leaders knowledge. Unfortunately, few organizations utilize blended learning in their leadership development program. 9. Lets Review the Key Points so Far CEOs believe leadership development is the biggest problem they face today. Organizations rely too much on expensive training programs that do not produce behavior change. Coaching can produce the behavior change that is necessary to improve leadership effectiveness, but assessment is needed first. Unfortunately, in most organizations, assessment does not always precede coaching making it ineffective or too expensive. Comprehensive assessment should also precede learning and development efforts to maximize their speed and effectiveness but often leadership development efforts do not follow this as a rule. Blended learning is the most cost-effective way to extend leaders knowledge of leadership theories, models, and concepts, but again blended learning is not the norm. Notes Notes Notes Notes Notes 10. The Leadership Development Challenge Even if they understood these challenges, many organizations do not possess the specialized internal resources necessary to provide all three (assessment, blended learning, and coaching) of the required program areas for an effective leadership development program. But, is there a compelling value proposition for these organizations to, in essence, outsource their leadership development program? We believe we have an outsourcing solution to the Leadership Development Challenge! 11. There is a Compelling Value Proposition for Leadership Development! We are recommending an annual program of leadership development program for six to eight senior leaders that includes assessment, development, and coaching that can have a 6 times the cost impact on your bottom line. Leadership development can be cost-effective, not just costly! 12. Leadership in Action Return to our website or contact Dr. Phillip R. Ash at: