Organizations are well aware of these challenges—according to the Harvard Business Review, organizations worldwide spent $356 billion on leadership development programs in 2020.
Yet the question remains—why, even with all this investment in leadership development and so many approaches available, do 75% of these same organizations rate most leadership development programs as ineffective?
While there is no simple answer to this question, O.D. Consulting has drawn on over 30 years of experience training an entire generation of managers to formulate ten guidelines to keep in mind if you want a leadership program capable of meeting the complex challenges we face today.
1. Leaders vs. Leadership
Does your leadership program strike the right balance between personal development and organizational development? An effective program should do more than empower the individual manager as a stand-alone leader; it should develop their leadership characteristics within the context of the organization’s needs to cope with the challenges it and its employees face.
2. Leadership Brand
An organization’s brand is a promise of a certain value to its customers. Its leadership brand embodies how this value is provided—what actions leadership takes to provide that value. David Ulrich called this phenomenon “The Leadership Brand”. Most leadership programs focus on general managerial principles when they should create a leadership program that integrates leadership principles based on their brand’s values.
3. Skills Model
A Skills Model is one way to develop a leadership program that integrates the organization’s Leadership Brand. It should combine the conventional challenges facing the market and the industry, as well as those unique challenges facing the organization driven by its position in the market and the managerial ecosystem in which it operates.
4. Leadership as Behavior vs. Leadership as Role
Ronald Heifetz and Marty Linsky from Harvard University distinguish between leadership as a role and leadership as behavior. They believe leaders have the power to impact the lives of those around them, but it is up to them to learn where, when, and how to exercise that impact. In fact, since true leadership is behavior, this behavior should go beyond those whose official role puts them in leadership position and should permeate the organization as a whole. Leadership programs should be aimed not only at executives, but also at employees in non-managerial positions.
5. Lifelong Learning (LLL)
Similarly, effective leadership development programs should be ongoing, not limited to individual projects or specific challenges. Lifelong Learning is a necessity in the dynamic professional world we operate in today—leadership programs must teach managers and employees how to learn, adapt, change, and develop. Finally, leaders need the proper learning structure where they can gain and apply new skills in a supporting environment.
6. It’s the Learner’s Responsibility to Learn
Part of Lifelong Learning is that a leader must take responsibility for their learning. Rather than spoon-feeding managers with solutions, our program encourages responsibility and proactivity. This is a key element in effective management programs.
7. Hybrid Learning
Hybrid learning (online learning and ‘traditional’ learning) is the new reality. We believe in integrating a range of learning channels and methods based on the 70-20-10 principle: 70% learning interactions, 20% group learning, 10% experiential, joint learning experiences.
8. Learning the Basics vs. the Adaptive Challenge
Although organizational development methodologies emphasize new managerial challenges, most of a manager’s work remains conventional. Leadership programs have to strike the right balance between the conventional and the ‘new’ managerial requirements without losing sight of either.
9. Mindset Challenge
Some leadership training programs focus on shaping leaders’ ideological mindsets, while others focus on more pragmatic aspects of their roles. We believe that while business realities demand practical leadership tools, leaderships program must also focus on shaping the future leader’s mindset through re-examining their motives and the forces that might hinder their effective communication with their environment.
10. Performance Breakthrough Challenge
An effective leadership training program must integrate all the players—the participant, their manager, the consultant/trainer, and whoever else is integral to their role within the organization. An effective program is not only about leadership development, but about organizational development. The ability to assess the participant’s actual performance and improve their ROI is what will generate value for both the individual and the organization as a whole.
Contact O.D. Consulting for a tailored and effective leadership program that will drive your business breakthrough.