Strategies for Smarter Investments: Leadership Development Programs
U.S. companies spend nearly $14 billion annually in leadership development. However, only 6% of leaders say they’re confident that their leadership pipeline is “very ready.”
Why are leadership development programs not producing well-equipped leaders? This was the topic of a recent webinar featuring Martin Lanik, author of the business bestseller, The Leader Habit, and Sarah Glass, I/O and leadership development expert. After the presentation, Martin and Sarah answered audience questions on leadership development strategies, leveraging data for leadership development, and more. Learn more with Martin Lanik and Sarah Glass’ Q&A.
1. What’s your recommendation on where to target leadership development? In the high potential population, or across all leaders?
Martin: I recommend thinking of leadership development as a funnel. First, you want to assess everybody to get a basic understanding of what you’re working with, and establish a baseline. From there, you start prioritizing. Maybe there are some business needs that are more critical than others, and based on that, you identify in which areas (and in which people) you invest the most money.
For example, you can use a leadership assessment across your leadership population, then use a leadership simulation to on a select group, and reserve your high-touch development strategies, such as executive coaching, for those employees who are most ready to take on critical leadership positions in your organization. The diagnostic piece is really key here. Without any assessment or analytics, you’re going in blind.
2. In leadership development programs, what data is typically shared with the organization versus the individual?
Sarah: Most of the organizations that we work with are leaning toward transparency. The idea is to share as much data as possible with the individual so that that person has an opportunity to understand their own baseline. Data that you share can help generate self-awareness, which is such a critical factor in a person’s development journey. There has to motivation and intent behind development, and the realization that it’s going to lead to a better result. Otherwise, you’re not going to see significant change.
This doesn’t necessarily apply to something like a benchstrength analysis, or anything with data in the aggregate that you’re using to make organizational decisions, but having data that’s visible at the individual level is definitely important.
3. How much additional data do you get from a leadership simulation?
Martin: The benefit of doing a simulation, compared to other types of assessments, is that you see the person in action. Rather than predicting, you’re actually witnessing their behavior. This is especially important when you think about a person’s readiness to move into a next-level position. The simulation allows you to place an engineer or a sales person, for example, into a management position—in a safe environment—and see how they tackle leadership challenges. This is as close as you can get to crystal ball—seeing how successful someone can be and how ready they are.
To learn more about leadership development programs, and your organization’s role in helping leaders form positive leadership habits, watch Martin and Sarah’s webinar on-demand: Transforming Leadership Development From a Program to a Daily Practice