What's Wrong with Your Leadership Development Strategy?

What's Wrong with Your Leadership Development Strategy?

Talent management and leadership development are decisive factors in the success of businesses, and over 85% of CEOs question the efficacy of the circa $300 billion spent globally in this area. Here is an open letter to a new CEO highlighting the challenge ahead.

Letter to a new CEO:

Dear Cynthia

Congratulations on your promotion to CEO! I'm thrilled about your new appointment, and very well deserved.

During unprecedented disruption and competition, you will have to navigate enormous complexity across your new organisation, from leveraging data and digitisation to motivating and developing your diverse workforce and leadership talent. So I want to share some information for you to consider ahead of your new challenge.

I know you believe that people are an organisation's most important asset, one of the key reasons (I'm sure) behind your appointment!

However, during my short time as an external advisor and coach, the company has invested millions in developing its workforce and key and emerging leadership talent.

As a result, Jack from L&D presented last week that the company has made great strides at ensuring honest and direct performance reviews are happening for everyone and that getting regular feedback, coaching, and development training is in place through established programs.

Jack's L&D presentation update was excellent. However, when I look at the performance results over the last three years:

  • customer satisfaction is down,
  • employee engagement is not improving,
  • profits are flat, and
  • the top line revenue is barely keeping pace with the market.

Therefore, prompting the question: Is your company getting the appropriate return on investment on the millions it's investing in leadership training and development?

The root cause of this problem may be something other than the content of leadership development programs or how they are delivered. But with cards on the table, does your firm need a robust and tangible definition of leadership success and the success of leadership development? It may exist, but I have yet to see it.

As you know, I am a big advocate of designing for results. So, when you have time, look at the end-to-end talent development lifecycle and the success measures at each stage, from objective setting to application and impact.

Success only occurs once tangible impacts are achieved. So, it may be time to take a fresh look at this vital issue, Cynthia. But knowing you, as I do, I am sure you've already got this!

Despite the challenges ahead, I know you will rise to every occasion. But please do take care of yourself. Even though I am moving on to a new external assignment, I will support you whenever I can in my free time. Be that candid sounding board you've enjoyed over the last six months! It will be my pleasure - anytime!

Best wishes, Cynthia.


Thoughts and Next Steps

Bob's remarks and query for Cynthia are meaningful and applicable to many businesses today. Unsurprisingly, most of today's business journalism addresses the gap and wastage of billions in this sphere. But if we look on the bright side, many creative pioneering companies are tackling this correctly. They are fulfilling the development needs of their staff, honing their abilities, and turning that into tangible results and an advantage over the competition. Will it be those firms that make strides ahead of their rivals, or will most others (including Cynthia's new enterprise) comprehend the importance of this important strategic area by closing the return on investment gap, and even the playing field? Only time will tell.

If you would like to discuss your existing challenge in this area or have some experience you would like to share, drop me a line at [email protected] (or if you are reviewing this blog via a social media post, please post your thoughts and experience online.👇)


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