From tick box leadership development to significant impact…

How does leadership development progress from a tick box exercise to actually moving an organisation from GOOD to BETTER to GREAT – significance, a space where organisations more than last through generations? We truly believe if leadership development is done correctly it will become the cornerstone of a great and significant organisation.
Overall there are at least three stages through which organisations usually progress, though few if any reach Stage 3 fully. It is possible to step right into Stage 3. Take a moment and review where your organisation is currently.
Stage 1 – GOOD
There is a realisation that leadership development is important. So your organisation invests in developing its leaders, often against the backdrop of them needing to adopt certain values or improve at relevant competencies. Or the leadership development isn’t that integrated, but it’s happening nevertheless.
No matter the content, models, philosophies or programs, most if not all of the training will fall under four universal levels of leadership:
  1. Leading self
  2. Leading others (including team)
  3. Leading organisation (non-people elements)
  4. Leading society (beyond work).
If your development assists leaders to grow in these areas you could be on a journey towards a “Good” organisation. Well done! But your training still falls within the tick box space so your leadership development investment won’t make a lasting difference at all if you don’t move into Stage 2.
Stage 2 – BETTER
A realisation that for investment in leadership development to be worthwhile it needs to be carried through to behavioural change, made possible through effective feedback. So your organisation finds a way for its leaders to receive annual or bi-annual feedback – 360 assessment – on these four levels of leadership. Now your organisation starts moving towards the BETTER space. That is if you are able to authentically loop the feedback back into individual development. Most organisations fall flat here. The loop must be closed in order to allow leadership development to set you on that path towards a BETTER organisation.
But you are still not on the level required for a lasting, agile, great and significant organisation. Leadership development is still just an important activity but not yet a way of life, like regular exercise and healthy diet. And the speed at which change happens and the pressure leaders are under will eventually catch up and overtake your leaders’ abilities to cope and lead effectively. So moving on to Stage 3 is essential, more so in today’s world. In a way organisations haven’t been under enough pressure to shift into stage three. But it’s starting to happen.
This is where you realise your leaders lead real-time under increasing pressure of a VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity) world on steroids. Their development needs to match this reality. If it lags and doesn’t match, a gap will start growing between their real-time reality and their ad hoc, lagging leadership development journey and annual 360 degree assessment. Their development must become a regular habit; a way of life; authentic. If your organisation doesn’t move forward into Stage 3, that gap will become an irreparable chasm, noticeable in obvious ways.
Therefore, you lean more fully into the real-time space:
  • Finding a way for your leaders to receive real-time feedback on the four universal levels. This is a big step. In essence it means all relevant colleagues can evaluate leaders at any time, not just annually. And leaders see the consistent feedback and comments inside their Personal Leadership Fitness Plan.
  • Every leader has a real-time Feedback Mean Score that they want and need to improve on. They therefore want and have to embrace the feedback, then implement real-time individualised development activities, which speak directly to the feedback, to improve the mean score.
  • Turning this real-time development ecosystem into an organisational habit, a way of life and culture of doing things. Individual leaders take ownership of their own leadership development journey, just like they do with their own exercise program and diet.
Now you are building:
  • An organisation where leadership development actually authentically grows leaders real-time and impacts the bottom line…also in real-time.
  • A culture of ever improving Authentic Leaders.
  • A pipeline of quality Leaders.
  • A GREAT and SIGNIFICANT organisation that will last through generations.
  • Leaders that won’t just positively impact your organisation but their societies and families as well.
Stage 3 should have other real-time spin offs like:
  • Rewarding participation – through real-time points allocation.
  • Recognising development achievements – via a real-time Leaderboard.
  • Making it possible for individuals to share a Portfolio of Evidence of all their activities, learnings, actions and achievements, real-time.
  • Encouraging individualised progression – because we are all on different levels of leadership maturity – but aligned with organisational values and competencies.
A great organisation that will last through generations to make a significant difference needs great and ever growing leaders. It’s that simple. And this can only happen if you match their intensifying real-time leadership experience with real-time feedback and personal, relevant, impactful development. It’s possible. ThinkLead Ecosystem does exactly this, and more. We would love to assist in guiding your organisation to Stage 3.
In summary:
Stage 1: Good
Quality Leadership Development aligned to the four universal levels of leadership.
Stage 2: Better
Quality Leadership Development aligned to the four universal levels of leadership.
Quality assessments at least annually, but not yet real-time.
Attempting to loop feedback back into personal development.
Stage 3: Great / Significant
A realisation that your leaders lead real-time under increasing pressure.
Therefore implementing a real-time development ecosystem of real-time feedback, followed by real-time development, informed by the feedback.
Individual leaders accept personal responsibility and accountability.