November 28th, 2012

Are You Investing Enough Leadership Development Dollars in Your Organization’s Most Important Asset?

Author: Michael Haid, SVP of Talent Management - the Americas, Right Management

Employers realize that talent is one of the important elements required for their company to be successful. While not yet considered number one, talent management is a top consideration for executive teams when engaging in business planning. In addition, because HR deals intimately with organizational talent, this function continues to elevate itself to a strategic position.


The other good news is that the C-suite, senior executives, and mid-level managers are beginning to understand their accountability for organizational talent. Because leader development is directly affecting companies at an operational level, this means it is affecting line managers’ base compensation and bonuses. Since it has become a genuine concern, leaders are stepping up, acknowledging that it’s not just an HR problem, and addressing the issue by more closely collaborating with HR.


The challenge is while there is significant need driving the demand for focused and strategic leader development, the discretionary budgets to fund development activities are often subject to reduction or suspension during uncertain times. Therefore, companies are looking to maximize the impact and value of whatever budget may exist. By elevating to a more advanced level of leadership development companies are able to drive results faster.


This advanced methodology works for all industries and levels of leadership. Whether it is a high tech company on the West coast or a financial firm on the East coast, significant evidence exists that organizations are achieving results based on accelerated leadership skills and receiving a positive return on their leader development investments.


The key to accelerated leader development is combining the developmental needs of the talent with the organizational needs of the company into one applied development experience. 


For instance, a cohort of talent (perhaps high potentials or leaders already in place) can be formed by first understanding individual developmental needs and then assigning individuals into cohorts based on a group need profile (some offsetting and some complimentary needs).  Then charge that cohort with addressing a very real and significant organizational challenge. This will tap into the cohort’s skills and stretch them, developmentally, to achieve a good outcome.


In essence, organizations re-conceptualize the idea of leadership in a forward-focused, business specific way leaving behind outdated training-for-development paradigms and their sub-par results. They develop managers’ skills through action learning and other programs that rapidly accelerate the leadership talents of high potential performers and, in turn, enhance business outcomes. So, while the discretionary spend on talent management generally, and leader development more specifically, is never a given in uncertain times, the resources allocated to leader development can have much greater impact and returns.

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