Scaling Leadership Development Quickly for Strategic Results

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“Scaling Leadership Development Quickly for Strategic Results

By: Shawna Simcik

A recent ICC survey showed that only 33% of Human Resource leaders are highly confident in their front-line leaders’ ability to ensure the future success of the organization (source: ICC – Global Survey. Future of Work Study 8.2017). Alternatively said, 67% of Human Resource leaders don’t believe their managers have what it takes to take their company to the next level of performance. Companies are finding that they don’t have managers in place to spearhead new projects or step into promotions as their businesses grow at rapid speed. This is quite scary given billions of dollars are invested in training and development each year for companies.

Where is the breakdown? In most organizations, unfortunately leadership coaching and development is typically reserved for the top senior and executive levels. Ironic given that the emerging leader or front-line supervisor directly supervises around 80% of the total workforce and most often has a direct relationship with your client or customer. Without an important human capital strategy, you get ineffective leaders, turnover, retention problems and a disengaged workforce.

For effective leadership to take place at every level and to meet strategic business results, training needs to extend to every employee. Organizations must scale their leadership development efficiently and effectively. This will allow the organization to quickly execute on its strategies and achieve its goals. Traditional training doesn’t cut it!

Where should you start? Here are a few key principles for success.

  1. The first key to scale is fairly simple – create a leadership development strategy and engage ALL business leaders. This is not and should not be just another human resources initiative. You wouldn’t go to market without a sales strategy or marketing strategy, so why is there hesitancy to build a talent or people strategy (one of your largest capital expenditures)?
  2. The second is clarity on knowledge, skills and abilities needed now and in the future. The organization must have clarity about the varying needs and investment needed at different levels within the organization. What skills do my managers need to execute upon my business strategy? For example, is the organization expanding into new markets which requires leaders to have global acumen? Or, is the organization established or fast-growing? If fast-growing, do my managers need change management and agility support?
  3. Once these gaps have been identified, the next step is to create a leadership architecture that supports scaling. This is not about launching a “program”, it is part of it, but rather an initiative that requires a whole system view. Solely implementing a training program is not enough. You must create a set of leadership solutions to support your learning and development objectives, align these with your business strategy, and then help individuals and teams apply the skills and work towards mastering them at all levels.

Does this feel overwhelming? Well, the good news is today’s technology and in today’s learning and development landscape, there are so many different forms of content available – licensed, pre-packaged, digital, books, self-directed, custom, etc. The bad news is that it is often not organized well or aligned at your levels for the right investment. If it is proving to be difficult to deliver all of this internally, reach out to external partners to support the business with a team of expert facilitators and the right mix of content to be delivered through multiple delivery modalities, anchored in learning objectives.

Scaling leadership development is the optimal way to create new capabilities across an entire organization in a short amount of time. Scaling leadership development requires shifts in the way you might traditionally approach development efforts. Yes, it’s complex, but thinking through these key principles will help you to more quickly achieve business results. If you need support in thinking about scaling your leadership development, don’t hesitate to reach out to ICC at info@innovateicc.com or 855-865-4400.

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