Organizations always need great leaders who can identify emerging challenges, inspire their team, and turn strategy into effective action. The needs only have been intensifying as changes come at an exponential speed. A 2016 Deloitte survey found that only 13% of companies believe they are building effective global leaders
Other firms have several suggestions on top team performance– focus on the shifts that matter, provide continuous leadership development, simplify formula, etc. Should we just concentrate on the shifts that matter? Should institution baby sit leaders? Can one method fix all issues? The answer is NO.
The Root Causes of Poor Corporate Leadership Development
The main root cause is partial approach– unable to get to the roots cause due to a lack of knowledge of the whole human structure but psychometrics, behavior or technology. Subsequently, many people try to solve health, business, law and other NON-tech and NON-psychological issues with tech and psychological (behavior) tools
Leaders require different tools to meet challenges in various environments at different stages. The daily skills include how to communicate and take feedback. Others can be sleep, learning, business law utilization, etc. If they do not have the tool(s) or the potential to acquire the tool(s) to finish ONE process, the whole journey can be in jeopardy. Talent type, personality and others define the boundary of their potential. Motivation DOES NOT have unlimited power. The case below is a good example that behaviors are often secondary to challenge and only emerge AFTER a person is ON THE SPOT, which is what the 360 degree can observe.
Unable to identify the precise development needs of a leader also results in extensive time, money and opportunities waste. Other technical causes can also delay and fail corporate leadership development, for example, how to personalize learning, install the “missing software” smoothly, and enhance learning practices.
Administrative and social causes include lack of support from CEOs and senior leaders and lack of motivations and confidence from individuals. Some people only want “solutions” from certain resources, including themselves. Some only respond to certain language and format. Without knowing the underlying structure and related rules, people analytic is only behavior or psychological observation and cannot be actionable. Thus, we need to get to the root causes and develop corporate leadership accordingly. For leadership development history, please visit Catch the Development Needs of a Leader before 360 Degree Evaluation.
Focus on the Shifts that Matter as well as the Holes that can Leak and Sink the Boat.
Regardless what a company strategy is, individuals can have different leadership development needs and require different action to execute the same strategy. A company opened a new category and promoted a marketing talent to be its new sub-ordinary CEO because:
However, the person has difficulties balancing intangible financial benefit over tangible and struggles with conflict management since he was “too important.” In fact, his leadership development needs could remain INSIGNIFICANT until he was promoted to CEO. Can his self-awareness and learning mind-set help him? Not really since it is hard to learn to vision intangible benefit, not to mention to become almost a genius that an excellent CEO requires. In addition, his Ego could easily become an issue once he was too important. Warren Buffet once said, “A horse that can count numbers is a remarkable horse, but not a remarkable mathematician.”
It is wise not to correct a development area. However, not to correct a development area should not be equal to ignore the area, or damage control can be inevitable. The case is a good example.
Each person has different leadership development needs that requires different time, action or alternative. No fix amount time and action can guarantee a success. Once individuals can meet current challenges, no need to update them unless their challenges change or will change, like the case above. By knowing their 6Q, we can catch most development needs of a leader ahead of the time and take early action. The Executive 6Q Assessment results are often good for 2 years in the absence of significant events.
Recently, some HR personnel explored whether people analytics enhances performance, how to simplify their approach and make their people analytics actionable. Their first discussion really amazed us– of course, people analytics enhances performance. However, no one formula for all as each human part, process, environment and stage has its own rules as discussed above. Without knowing the underlying human structure and related rules, people analytic can only be behavior or psychological observation, and, therefore, cannot be actionable.
Not long ago, we met some “leadership development experts” who evaluated leadership through psychometrics only and nailed both psychological and non-psychological issues with psychological tools. In fact, many psychological issues are secondary to NON-psychological causes, for example failures and poor health. To evaluate only psychometrics and target NON-psychological issues with psychological tools was why their leadership development was so poor. Unfortunately, the “leadership development experts” could not see the whole picture because they only react to psychological signals due to their knowledge base.
For proper people analytics, please visit from PwC CEO Study to How to Go from Good to Great Efficiently.
Learning is another whole system approach, where knowledge structure, talent type, tenacity, resources, introspection, self-discovery, etc. can all impact the learning outcome. One efficient way to facilitate change management and strategy execution is to make learning easy and fast. To do so, we need to identify the development needs precisely and minimize learning resistance. In addition, integrate learning with practices to enhance memory and turn learning into rapid action. Our leadership group classes are designed to serve the purpose. Practices at work are great but on and off.
Furthermore, senior leaders’ participation matters in organizational leadership development. McKinsey’s recent research found that successful corporate leadership-development programs were five to six times more likely to involve senior leaders acting as project sponsors, mentors, and coaches. The reason is that the senior leaders are good role models and know what matters most to the company.
Many CEOs strike to be exceptional but underestimate the needs to translate strategy into effective organizational capabilities that will affect their ultimate success. In fact, corporate leadership development can achieve a quick impact through the same mechanism of building exceptional CEOs.
1. Identify the development needs of a leader before “the 360 degree,” based on the 6Q assessment result instead of IQ, EQ and Behavior alone. The difference can be 50% of time less, efficient solutions to 30-40% “intractable” issues, and minimum damage control.
2. Install the missing tools as smoothly as possible. The difference here can be weeks vs months, months vs years.
3. Integrate learning with practices. The difference here can be knowledge vs action.
As the pace of change increases, so does the impact and cost of poor corporate leadership development and top team performance improvement.
How do you score in the above 4 key areas?
It is normal if you do not score high, which is why we are here. Read how to implement the 4 keys at What Stop Leaders from Good to Great.
About the Author
Bin Yang is the Managing Director of The Prince Synergy (www.theprincesynergy.com), a leading consulting firm that focuses on building exceptional leaders to strengthen society and solves the hardest issues in leadership and performance that no one else can. She is also the author of What Stop Leaders from Good to Great, that many Fortune 500 CEOs wish they have long before their “retirement.”
For more information or to schedule an interview, lecture, or appointment, please contact 310-668-1828.