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19 2011

Leadership Development Starts at the Top

Syndicated from: balance-AND-results

It was great to read comments in the Retail Council of Canada’s journal, Canadian Retailer, by the new President of Black’s Photography, Ethel Taylor, about how they went about developing a “new Black’s.” She made an observation well worth repeating that I hadn’t heard in just that way before – that most senior leadership teams who want to improve leadership in their organizations buy training for middle management, while in fact, it should begin at the top, with improvement by the senior executives first. When I think back to situations I’ve been in this is all too true. So when you read reports like Wallace Immen’s piece for CTV on the poor state of leadership development in Canada (which is pretty similar to all you read about the US and even worse in other countries), you have to think there are very few executive teams asking where the process needs to start. Black’s seems happy with their results and it’s great to see an organization attribute future potential success to a thorough and well thought out leadership development program with KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and actual follow up planned. Two days a month over four months for key leaders makes for a good learning pattern judging from the programs I’ve worked with – enough concentrated time in each session and enough ‘settling’ and application time between them. Even more important than the time spent by individual leaders furthering the own skills has to be the overall impact within an organization’s environment when everyone knows this is going on and everyone is watching to see who actually improves. The peer and co-worker ‘pressure’ (really, the attention everyone will pay) is a key element that ensures the program is actually applied and begins to make enough of a difference to stick. Just knowing the new behaviors are expected eases the path for leaders who want to try acting differently and the reinforcement they’re bound to see in happier and more productive employees has a much greater chance of making changes permanent. A little icing on the cake is knowing the senior executives went through similar processes and should be demonstrating similarly improved behavior themselves. Lapses will be highly visible! Getting momentum is a critical element to making such programs effective and these articles certainly suggest that it can be done, but that most aren’t doing it. yet. With the continuing spotlight on these sorts of innovation-boosting efforts, though, it seems inevitable that more companies will begin them. Bookmark and share this post More »

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