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Developing leaders in challenging times for competitive advantage tomorrow.


Published on

Today’s leaders face unprecedented challenges. Shifting demographics,
increased globalization, regulation and productivity pressures, and other
factors are creating a business environment of unprecedented complexity,
velocity, and volatility. Leadership behaviors, attitudes, and skills that worked
in the past may not be effective in today’s environment — to ensure success,
organizations must develop leaders at all levels.

Published in: Business

Developing leaders in challenging times for competitive advantage tomorrow.

  1. 1. Developing leaders in challenging times for competitive advantage tomorrow.
  2. 2. Leadership development
  3. 3. is a dynamic process, which means that organizations like Deloitte have a distinct advantage. “It’s in our nature to be chronic improvers, so we constantly refresh everything,” says Christine Murphy, Senior Manager of National Partner Services at Deloitte. Like most successful organizations, they recognize that both the workplace and the workforce are shifting landscapes. While every era has faced leadership challenges, increased globalization, regulation, and technology create unprecedented complexity, velocity, and volatility for today’s leaders. Therefore, leadership behaviors, attitudes, and skills that worked in the past may not be effective in today’s environment. What’s happening to employee engagement? It’s always a good time to develop leaders. One significant change in the workforce is a The bottom line is that, over time, poor leader- decline in employee engagement. Survey results ship may have as great an impact on the from Quantum Workplace show 66% of employ- organization’s success or failure as a recession. ers saw decreases in employee engagement Today’s leaders must simultaneously lead between 2007 and 2008. By an almost two-to- change, develop talent, address complex one margin, more employers had lower overall issues rapidly, and prepare for a different kind employee engagement scores in the fall of 2008 of future, all during an extended economic than the fall of 2007. A 2008 study of national downturn. While it might be tempting to refrain worker opinions by Modern Survey confirms from spending money on leadership develop- that employee engagement has clearly declined ment during challenging economic periods, over the last year. As of August 2008 when organizations should recognize the importance the study was conducted, 21 percent of U.S. of meeting these demands now and continue workers were disengaged, a difference of four to invest in senior leaders and high potentials percentage points from August 2007. at all levels. For organizations not already investing in leadership development, now is While the decline in employee engagement the time to begin, rather than simply focusing may be a reflection of the economic climate on the recession and working through it. or other factors, it may also be a reflection of an organization’s leadership climate. Since With all of the economic, business, and societal leaders have a strong influence on employees’ changes taking place, leaders are forced to perceptions of the workplace, these declining adapt to a new order that demands both strategic engagement numbers may be influenced by skills and tactical talent. Leaders must also have disengaged leaders. It is also likely that the a strong moral compass to guide them through ranks of disengaged employees include highly decisions that require complex thinking, and valued, high potential employees — in whom that balances profitability and responsibility. companies have been investing significant As a result of these overwhelming demands on leadership development dollars over the last today’s organizations, leadership development decade — putting these emerging leaders can no longer focus solely on the senior team. at risk for leaving. Leaders must be developed at all levels through- out the organization to ensure an organization’s success. 3
  4. 4. Leaders are needed at all levels. Look around and you will see that the American Managing a multi-generational workforce. workforce is changing. In a 2008 Society for In the same SHRM survey, 54 percent of Human Resource Management (SHRM) Work- respondents were concerned about genera- place Forecast, 78 percent of the 9,000 Human tional issues with Generation Y (born 1978-1989) Resource professionals who responded to the and Generation X (born 1965-1977). Today’s survey said they were concerned about the workplace spans multiple generations and large number of Baby Boomers (born 1946- each generation has its own set of needs and 1964) who will retire within the same timeframe. motivators. Today’s leaders must understand According to a recent study by the Conference the unique characteristics and needs of these Board, by 2010 about 64 million workers — employee populations and adjust their leader- 40 percent of the nation’s workforce — will be ship styles accordingly. Research has shown poised for retirement. While not all of these repeatedly that Generation X and Y employees employees will actually retire, the risk is imminent do not respond to organizational hierarchy and organizations are vulnerable. Due to retire- in the same way as Baby Boomers and the ment (and other reasons), for every employee Silent Generation (born 1925-1945). One-style-fits entering the workforce, two will leave. Murphy all leadership is no longer acceptable, creating says, at Deloitte, there’s a “gulf” of leaders 10 a critical need for leaders who can adapt to years from retirement. “We have a lot of new changes in the workplace and the workforce. leaders in their thirties and a whole group of experienced leaders in their fifties who will be Leaders managing multiple generations in leaving in the next ten years — but not enough the workforce must understand how to mesh immediately behind them,” says Murphy. diverse needs and motivators if they want to build optimal performing teams and successful When retirements do happen, organizations. Since the next wave of leaders who will lead? will emerge from these diverse populations, leadership development must reflect not just While the current economic situation and the workforce, but also the leaders themselves. declining 401(k) values may delay some retire- ments, the economy will recover and retirements Changing the leadership hierarchy. will resume. Those employees who are forced to delay retirement for financial reasons will When these and other demographic trends likely have altered expectations about work and are coupled with societal changes, it becomes perhaps less motivation — creating additional apparent that traditional concepts of leadership leadership challenges. When these retirees simply will not work. While traditional models do walk out the door, many will be leaders often focus on hierarchies — leaders in senior who take years of experience and a wealth positions or those with a leadership “title” — of organizational knowledge with them. today we need leaders at all levels. We need Who will replace these leaders and how will leaders that may not fit the traditional profile. new leaders be developed? Hierarchies are too slow to react and too cumbersome for today’s dynamic environment that promises higher risks and opportunities. Organizations must have “all minds on deck” if they are to thrive in the 21st century. 4
  5. 5. Developing leaders in challenging times Today’s leadership challenges • Globalization • Need to develop leaders at all levels • Restructuring, mergers, and acquisitions • Economic uncertainty • Rapidly changing business environment • Growth and productivity pressures • Increases in complexity and risks • Increased regulation and government • Shifting workforce demographics oversight of industries and markets – Diverse workforce • Continuing need to innovate – Multi-generation workforce through technology – Baby Boom generation retirements 5
  6. 6. Leadership development is an investment in success. Because of the changes and challenges facing To address this situation, organizations must leaders today, few would argue with the need understand the return-on-investment (ROI) for for strong leaders and effective leadership leadership development and how to maximize succession planning. that investment. Albert Einstein said, “Not everything that can be counted counts, and not Some of the benefits of effective leadership everything that counts can be counted.” Anyone development include: who has attempted to assign a specific dollar • Development of leader, team, and value to leadership development or other organization competencies learning activities understands the challenge • Ability to outperform the competition of calculating a precise ROI. What is easy to with increased market share, revenue, measure is the cost of turnover, lost productivity, profitability, and rising stock prices and other breakdowns that result from poor • Sustained performance leadership. Not having an effective leadership development approach is often a root cause • A culture of customer satisfaction, of these problems. innovation, continuous improvement, and operational excellence In Bersin & Associates’ High-Impact Leadership • Strong bench strength and effective Development 2009, they cite four top benefits succession planning of leadership development. • “Employers of choice” that win the war 1. Driving organization/bench strength for talent 2. Improving efficiency and effectiveness • Distributed leadership at all levels of leaders 3. Increasing successful execution Effective leadership development produces of business strategies leaders who can coach, mentor, and develop other leaders in the organization, providing 4. Improving management communication a steady stream of leaders at all levels. and alignment Yet, some organizations still see leadership Determining ROI of leadership development solely as an expense. In a development programs. recession, it may seem to be an unaffordable Many successful organizations have created expense. Almost anyone working in Human measurement systems to determine the ROI Resources can tell you that, in times of economic of their leadership development programs. uncertainty, human capital development Maryanne Spatola, Vice President of Leadership programs are often among the first budget and Professional Development at Selective casualties. During these periods, successful Insurance Company of America says, organizations do not question their investments “Constantly measuring results and the effective- in leadership development. They recognize that ness of our leadership initiatives is important.” having strong leaders at all levels is always Employees’ progress in Selective’s leadership important, especially when organizations development program is monitored for about are struggling in the midst of turbulent a year afterwards, and they have accountability economic times. partners to help keep them on track. 6
  7. 7. Developing leaders in challenging times In High-Impact Leadership Participants take a 360° assessment at the beginning of the program. About six to nine 2009, Bersin & Associates months after completion, they receive another states: “One of the most 360° assessment. Spatola adds, “The [second] 360 is very targeted on what they said they difficult things to articulate were going to work on.” to senior management Selective also does a good job of targeting their is the benefits of leadership leadership development on the appropriate development. Most often, employees. “Making the distinction between a grow-in-place strategy for high performers these benefits are not tangible and a career advancement strategy for high and are hard to quantify.” potentials is important for creating the right development opportunities for the right people at the right time,” says Spatola. Through their research, Organizations that do not focus their effort they found that 41 percent and resources on high potential employees — of the organizations in at whatever level — have more difficulty realizing a return on their investment in leadership the study cited “driving development. While it is true that leaders can, organizational development/ and should, exist at all levels of the organization, development programs should be allocated creating bench strength” to those individuals who have demonstrated and “improving the efficiency leadership potential. Otherwise, ROI is diluted and effectiveness of leaders” and the credibility of the development program is jeopardized. were tied as the number one benefit of leadership development. 7
  8. 8. Leadership competencies can be developed. Most aspects of leadership are behavioral and Coaching for optimal performance can be developed. Leadership competencies can is another must-have skill if leaders want to be defined in terms of expected skills, behaviors, develop high potential employees and achieve and knowledge that are needed to perform. top performance and desired business results. The chart on page 9 shows a list of leadership Coaching provides an opportunity for leaders to competencies identified by Lee Hecht Harrison. take action and assume personal responsibility for developing their employees. These competencies represent more than a set of leadership skills. They also represent risks Building the capability to lead change is and opportunities. For example, leaders lacking a competency that cannot be delegated to a the ability to think and act strategically could few at the top. Since change affects everyone pose significant financial and human capital in the organization, leaders at all levels need to risks to an organization. On the other hand, be agents of change. While change is typically leaders who demonstrate strength in this sponsored at the top, implementation cascades competency provide long-term decision-making throughout the organization. What is needed and problem-solving skills needed for the is a strong network of leaders with the ability to organization’s success. They realize the necessity lead and propagate these changes at all levels. of pausing and acting deliberately, as opposed And, of course, with so much going on in to leaders who often move too quickly in a organizations, communicating intentionally crisis situation. can mean the difference between confused Collaborative leadership is another employees who disengage due to lack of trust, competency that is increasingly critical. The or from confusion, and a committed workforce. ability to transcend organizational hierarchies, harness collective talent, and create synergy is priceless. Effective leaders are respectful of functional boundaries and organizational hierarchies but do not let them become barriers to achieving complex outcomes.
  9. 9. Developing leaders in challenging times This leadership competency is an ability to: Collaborative leadership Build consensus through shared decision making while persuading others to assume leadership accountability Leading optimal performing teams Inspire confidence and commitment to shared goals through individual and team accountability Learning in action Recognize, acknowledge, and value learning while taking action to produce results Thinking and acting strategically Apply a long-range view to problem solving and decision making through objective analysis and planning that leads to action Communicating intentionally Seek ideas from diverse audiences and deliver messages in a deliberate and precise way Coaching for optimal performance Help individuals and teams achieve and sustain top performance in ways that are linked to business results Innovating for business impact Create an environment that enables others to generate new approaches to emerging opportunities Building the capability to Initiate, design, and implement change at all levels: lead change organization, team, and individual Leveraging challenge and conflict Create an environment that invites diverse viewpoints, challenges the status quo, and initiates productive conflict that results in shared goals Developing leaders and sustaining Continually assess and create development plans a talent mindset for self and others that foster learning and growth 9
  10. 10. Aligning leadership strategy with business strategy. While many competencies can be developed, an leadership development relevant and aligned organization must first identify its top leadership with the organization’s business objectives. development priorities. Before any leadership development begins, senior management should The basics of a successful leadership reach agreement on their organization’s unique development program. needs and priorities. Leadership development should always be aligned with the organization’s strategy and Selective Insurance aligns their leadership objectives. For consistency, it should also be competency model to create a line-of-sight with integrated with other learning related activities. their business strategy. Spatola says, “The under- To provide ongoing support for leadership pinnings of all initiatives related to developing competencies, organizations must commit to an leaders are grounded in a well-defined leader- ongoing process of assessment and feedback ship competency model. We integrate the and to providing challenging developmental leadership competency model into our business experiences. model, whether it’s talent acquisition, performance management, or talent management.” Selective A well-designed, comprehensive leadership Insurance also integrates their competency development approach does more than develop model with specific leadership development leaders. It also develops the leader’s team opportunities, like their Leadership University and organization as well. “A formal leadership curriculum or executive coaching. Spatola adds, development program has aligned our business “This strong integration provides a framework strategy with growing individual leaders and that is easily understood, consistent throughout leadership capabilities for the organization,” our processes and builds both individual and says Spatola. collective capabilities for the organization.” Selective uses scenarios in their leadership The value of blended learning. development curriculum. To keep the program aligned with their business strategies, they The most effective leadership development update their coaching and feedback module programs use blended learning techniques. with new scenarios that incorporate immediate The components may include a 360° assessment, business issues. “When they return to work, they classroom instruction or seminars, and a combi- can work on something relevant right away,” nation of individual and group/team coaching. says Spatola. Formal and informal mentoring is often used. Increasingly, development programs often Murphy says that, at Deloitte, they see develop- include technology-based tools, like webinars, ing leadership skills as a “strategic arm” of their podcasts, and simulations. business. When developing their top leaders’ competencies, they do it within the context Another effective component of blended of actual business strategies, not as workshop learning is an Action Learning Team, where exercises. “At Deloitte, when these leaders participants are divided into groups and assigned return to work, they are ready to implement a business issue or problem to be addressed. their own business unit strategies and they These on-the-job experiences, combined with understand how those strategies fit with firm- coaching, are particularly effective in making wide objectives,” says Murphy. 10
  11. 11. Developing leaders in challenging times Choosing a leadership development partner. An effective leadership development partner our Leadership Consulting practice, we provide understands the organization’s culture and over- our own proprietary solutions and act as an all strategy. The partner should work with the integrator, bringing best practice leadership organization to create a leadership development solutions from multiple alliance partners to strategy and program that works within the meet an organization’s unique requirements. context of that organization’s objectives. A good The cornerstone of LHH’s Leadership Consulting leadership development program uses blended efforts is twofold: its executive coaching strength learning techniques that include assessment, and its Leaders at all Levels™ program. seminars, and coaching. The Leaders at all Levels™ program includes: Leadership development is an investment in the organization’s success. When choosing an • 360° assessment external partner, organizations should be diligent • High impact learning goals in selecting a firm that has experience and • Reading and study assignments uses qualified consultants. External consultants • Action learning teams should have the skills they undertake to develop • Business acumen development in others and must offer proven content, which • Fast feedback surveys is often delivered in seminars or workshops • Coaching skills development as a component of the development process. and coaching circles • Senior leadership participation Reputable leadership development firms have a proven track record of partnership and success. • Evaluation and measurement Satisfied clients are often the best reflection of the quality of the firm and its development The new rules of leadership development. program. Leaders today face unprecedented challenges from globalization, shifting demographics, Lee Hecht Harrison: productivity pressures, and other factors. This a partner in leadership development. dynamic environment makes it imperative that Lee Hecht Harrison has been in the leadership effective leadership development programs development business since 1974, when the reflect changes in the workplace and the company was founded and began offering workforce. Because of the complex demands assessment and coaching services. Since then, leaders face today, organizations can no longer we have continued to evolve our leadership focus on a few leaders at the top. To meet development solutions for executives, high the challenges of these shifting environments, potentials and emerging leaders. LHH has been now more than ever, organizations of all sizes designated by Leadership Excellence magazine are compelled to invest in an approach that as one of the top 10 large consulting firms develops leaders at all levels. providing leadership development services. We play a unique role for clients as an imple- To learn more about Lee Hecht Harrison mentation partner for scalable development or Leaders at all Levels™, visit solutions incorporating coaching. Through or call 800.611.4LHH. 11
  12. 12. About Lee Hecht Harrison Lee Hecht Harrison offers talent management solutions throughout the entire employee life cycle to help companies and individuals maximize performance and achieve success. Established in 1974, Lee Hecht Harrison is a global talent management solutions company with over 240 offices worldwide providing expertise in Career Transition, Leadership Consulting and Workforce Solutions. Lee Hecht Harrison is a part of Adecco Group, the world leader in workforce solutions with over 6,600 offices in over 70 countries and territories around the world. For more information, please visit 800.611.4LHH ©2009 Lee Hecht Harrison. LHHMK7015