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5 Strategies to Make Leader Development Successful in Your Organization

Angie Morgan, September 14, 2016


5 Strategies to Make Leader Development Successful in Your Organization

When Courtney and I launched Lead Star 12 years ago, we were clear on our mission. We were setting out to inspire greater leadership within businesses and organizations. At the time, we had a book, a speech, and a few workshops that could be tailored to our clients. Fortunately, our offerings led us to many impressive clients that had a true need for leadership development.

Through these amazing relationships we realized that we were more than trainers – we were partners who were advising executives on how to grow and develop leaders throughout their organization. What’s more, we were vested in the success of our clients so much so that we put tremendous effort into understanding the true needs of the organization and how these connected to business outcomes. We were using data to drive development decisions and then creating programs that were culturally relevant and authentic to our clients.

Our work has led us to some conclusions related to learning and development that will help any organization seeking to position itself for future success:

  1. Leadership development needs to be democratized. It isn’t just for senior managers; it needs to happen at every employment level, beginning at onboarding. When every employee feels empowered to lead – whether that’s themselves, their team, or the enterprise – the organization is more nimble and results happen faster.
  2. Executive buy-in is key. Whenever learning is introduced into an organization, executives need to demonstrate the behaviors they expect of others. A surefire way to undermine leadership development is by introducing it only to a select employee population, such as mid-level managers. If employees who are receiving leadership development don’t see the behaviors they are learning reflected among their executive team, they lose motivation to grow and develop.
  3. One-day workshops don’t work. If a new client calls us and asks us for day training, we usually turn down the offer. We don’t provide one-day events if it’s not connected to a greater organizational strategy. What happens outside of the classroom is significantly more important than what happens in a classroom, which is why most one-day events are ineffective. Our programs leverage the 70-20-10 model, which reinforces that organizations need to support a variety of learning methods within their cultures in order for training to “stick.”
  4. Consultants aren’t forever. The most effective organizations don’t rely upon consultants to do their training and development forever. They strive to be leader-led, which means that their managers walk the walk and talk the talk as it relates to leadership. Our goal is to set up our clients for success by equipping managers with the capability to train and develop within their organization so learning is more impactful and lasting.
  5. Development isn’t an expense; it’s an investment. When training and development is treated like an expense, it’s tactical – a communication course here, a coaching course there, and an executive offsite without any focused purpose. When learning is considered an investment, the result is a planned, intentional learning journey organizations can take together to align efforts and drive results.

Today, we partner with businesses and organizations to help them build out their cultures so they can tackle the tough issues that have the potential to stall growth:

  • Succession planning – to ensure their talent pipeline is strong enough for the future.
  • Strategy and goals – when these are misaligned, it causes organizational confusion, frustration and inefficiencies.
  • Retention challenges – talented, capable people are in-demand. Many businesses dedicate resources to “save” their low–performers, while overlooking opportunities to engage their high-performers.
  • Employee engagement – to ensure everyone is contributing to their fullest potential. We also help businesses identify “Sparks” – hidden talent within their ranks who have the power to transform their businesses and lead them through change.

We strive to work with clients that have the will and commitment to make their people their top priority. If you believe your organization would benefit from a focused leadership development experience, let’s talk. We’re as excited to learn from you as we are to work with you.

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