According to the 2017 Deloitte Human Capital Trends research discovered that 83% of companies rate L&D as important and 54% rate it urgent up 11% . In this world of artificial intelligence, business transformation, and reskilling employees , companies are realizing that delivering on a compelling, digital learning experience is critical to business growth
Josh Bersin from Bersin Associates mentioned “Digital Learning does not mean learning on your phone, it means “bringing learning to where employees are. Companies are starting to move away from their Learning Management Systems (LMS), buy all sorts of new tools for digital learning”
In this context developing a solid executive leadership pipeline is a critical aspect to deliver results, growth and create business-value through talent. This article is focused on “build the foundation” on Leadership development as a core competency that represents a sustainable competitive advantage creating alignment and building the next generation of leaders with the right skill-set to make organizations more profitable. Let’s imagine the following business context:
Executive A is extremely energetic, promotes creativity to accomplish projects and a culture of teamwork. She is responsible for a brand-new market that is experimenting organic growth and the sky is the limit. The secret of the success: she is developing strong customer-connection culture across his business unit.
Executive B is managing in an emerging market where recession and regulations are putting pressure on him to deliver results. However, the organization is struggling but succeeding due to leader B’s ability to build innovation and a product development culture. He has strong credibility and market knowledge to drive strategy.
Executive C is managing in the energy industry and leading an aggressive turnaround agenda where operational excellence capabilities are critical to survive and put back the organization on float again. Her supply chain, cost control, and financial planning mindset are strong factors in the culture of her business unit.
If we mix these 3 executives and now make for example executive A be responsible for team B or team C or vice versa. Would they deliver the same results?
Due to markets environments, business challenges are different in every region. Hence, executives will need to develop different leadership skills and reset their mindsets to keep delivering value, creating competitive advantage and engaging their teams. Here is a lesson to learn: culture, markets, and business environment conditions would require a new set of leadership development programs that reflect business conditions and complexity of markets. Here some guidance on how to design your leadership programs:
1. Translate business outcomes in your organizational leadership capability
Markets and customers are constantly changing and international markets represent a great opportunity for sustainable growth. To design your leadership programs, organizations need to address the business context they are facing and identify capabilities & leadership skills to win and compete in that particular environment. Plus, to identify leadership style, organizations need to consider strategy, culture, and the complexity of the organization. Senior C-Suite executives play a critical role in the leadership organizational capability design. The outcome of this stage is a comprehensive list of leadership behaviors and learning objectives that business leaders need to develop on a global, regional or country level.
2. Leadership framework strategy
Global, regional and local organizations face different business challenges, markets and customers. Hence, your leadership framework needs to be flexible and allow regions to customize programs that are tailored to their specific business contexts. Creating one enterprise-wide leadership development program won’t develop the skills and behaviors that leaders need in their specific scenarios such turnaround or sustainable growth stages. Keep in mind that you can have a global program but at the same time have customized programs to address regional and/or country business needs. A hybrid model is an option as well.
3. Leadership capability audits
Leadership assessment is critical to understand the proficiency level per leadership skill described in the company’s leadership development framework. Organizations need to identify gaps between the current and the desired competency/skill levels. Based on that initial analysis, organizations can plan properly learning interventions per business line, level of management, region and/or country. Leadership development programs need to be designed for all level of management and employees. High Potentials are not the only target group in your development framework. Leadership segmentation is critical to prioritize key employee groups with a direct impact on the value creation.
4. Leadership cohort
Cohorts are critical to design successful leadership development programs. Your audience will include different generations, meaning that you will have baby boomers and millennials as part of some of your development programs. Keep in mind that adult learning is focused on collaboration and utilization of problem-based approach. Hence, in order to keep them engaged and promote teamwork between participants you need to consider different learning techniques. Again, leadership development programs can share the same core learning objectives but the execution and approach are tailored base on their particular business challenges. Regions and countries need to have the flexibility to create their own programs.
5. Communicate & engage
The success of your leadership development strategy is dependent on the ability to engage the entire organization and prepare them for the change. If this is the first time that your organization is designing a leadership development program, a change management approach will be necessary to effectively engage stakeholders and communicate necessary changes across the organization.
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Albert Loyola is Managing Partner with Ignite Organizations, a talent and organization consulting firm. He serves as a trusted advisor to leadership teams on future workforce strategy, HR technology capabilities and integrated talent and HR solutions, he enables clients to address their future workforce needs and lead change in the face of digital transformation.
Albert is a People Technology Advisor & Speaker on the Future of Work, Employee Experience, Design Thinking and Artificial Intelligence in HR. His work has been featured on different business and HR tech magazines. Albert holds a Master Degree from Cornell University, in Human Resources
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