Develop Your Leaders/Transform Your Organization


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Many traditional leadership development programs fail to deliver impact - not because what they offer is poor quality, but rather because they are missing key elements of an integrated experience. Leading research and decades of practice by Harvard Business Publishing's Corporate Learning team point to three key approaches to make your development initiatives more effective.

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Develop Your Leaders/Transform Your Organization

  2. 2. ABOUT CORPORATE LEARNING Harvard Business Publishing Corporate Learning partners with clients to create world-class leadership development solutions for managers at all levels. Our team leverages the management insight, thought leadership, and expertise of Harvard Business School faculty and authors from Harvard Business Review to create tailored leadership development solutions. With more than 20 years of practical experience, our innovative, technology- enabled solutions drive meaningful and lasting business results. Corporate Learning is a market group within Harvard Business Publishing. ABOUT HARVARD BUSINESS PUBLISHING Harvard Business Publishing was founded in 1994 as a not-for-profit, wholly-owned subsidiary of Harvard University. Its mission is to improve the practice of management and its impact in a changing world. The company achieves its mission through its relationships with customers in three market groups: Higher Education, Corporate Learning, and Harvard Business Review Group. Through these platforms, Harvard Business Publishing is able to influence real- world change by maximizing the reach and impact of its essential offering—ideas.© 2011 Harvard Business School Publishing. All rights reserved. Harvard Business Publishing is an affiliate of Harvard Business School.
  3. 3. DEVELOP YOUR LEADERS,TRANSFORM YOUR ORGANIZATIONTraditional approaches to leader development aren’t delivering on theirpromise. They’re too detached from business operations and strategy,and focus on knowledge and skills to the neglect of values and mindsets.Here are three ways companies can better prepare their leaders tosustainably advance their competitive positions.BY SHERRY HEFFNER, SEAN KENNEDY, JOSH BRAND, AND PETER WALSH“IF THE RATE OF LEARNING The convenTional approach to leader development offers a variety of pro- IS NOT GREATER THAN grams and developmental events, but they’re often delivered in isolation. Individual managers may improve their skills, but the impact on business THE RATE OF CHANGE, results is often minimal. We frequently see the following imbalances: YOU’LL FAIL.” o Companies spend money on manager training but struggle to create a DAVID A. GARVIN, culture of performance. C. ROLAND CHRISTENSEN PROFESSOR OF BUSINESS o Organizations invest heavily in programs for high potentials yet still hire ADMINISTRATION, outside talent for most leadership positions. HARVARD BUSINESS SCHOOL o Companies build detailed leadership competency models, but new strategic initiatives stall. o Mostlearning happens informally on the job, yet the leadership development investment is still focused on big events and the classroom. o Leadership development budgets are under increasing scrutiny, even as strategies place greater demand on building capability. Adding to these pressures, corporations worldwide are faced with a widen- ing gap in their global leadership pipeline. Organizational structures have flattened, eliminating positions that used to serve as key developmentalH A R VA R D B U S I N E S S P U B L I S H I N G {1 }
  4. 4. steps. Globalization and growth produce a leadership culture that behavior early on can stay within emerging markets pose new can drive an organization to win in leaders for years, even decades,challenges for leaders. And eco- its market. showing up in complaints aboutnomic uncertainty continues, rais- leaders who operate “below theiring scrutiny on the investment of Requirements for level” or lack “strategic thinking.”precious resources in leadership Integrated Leadership Hill warns that her findings helddevelopment. Development not just for managers strugglingTo develop the leadership capabili- to make the transition, but also Beyond Skills Training managers who were once high-ties across their organizations that HELP LEADERS MASTERwill drive business results, learning CRITICAL MIND SHIFTS performers but were no longerleaders and their partners in the growing.C-suite must take a more holistic Leaders frequently fail to live up to Meanwhile, most leadership devel-view of how they develop leaders their personal and organizational opment programs still emphasizeand how learning opportunities expectations when taking on new honing new skills and knowledge,(both formal and informal) inte- roles—or living into existing without sufficient attention tograte with the organization’s stra- ones—because they’ve honed their reframing how a leader shouldtegic imperatives. Based on more skills but haven’t learned to think think about her influence in thethan two decades of working with in new ways. It’s a challenge for organization and what it means toleading organizations to drive busi- new and tenured managers alike, be in a particular leadership role.ness results through leadership according to research by Harvard Addressing this identity shift indevelopment, and in partnership Business School professor Linda A. leadership development effortswith our faculty from Harvard Hill. She’s found that, in the is critical not only for leaders toBusiness School and authors from absence of guidance, they continue successfully make key career tran-Harvard Business Review, we have to focus on their individual ability sitions, but also for incumbent lead-identified three critical elements to get things done—to accomplish ers to live into their roles more fully.of an effective and sustainable tasks—rather than their broaderleadership development strategy. role in making the team and orga- A major financial company sawAnd while each element is neces- nization more effective. The failure the benefits of this approach whensary, only an integrated approach to make these profound identity it revamped its frontline manage-that brings the three together will shifts in mindset, conduct, and ment program to accelerate its CRITICAL ELEMENTS FOR EFFECTIVE AND SUSTAINABLE LEADER DEVELOPMENT Organizations can address the imbalances found in most leadership development programs by going beyond traditional methods to adopt and integrate three critical elements. BEYOND SKILLS BEYOND INDIVIDUAL BEYOND FORMAL TRAINING DEVELOPMENT PLANS TRAINING Address self-awareness Build pivotal capability Embed learning with and the mindset required to drive key imperatives everyday work realities. to succeed at particular required for success. leadership levels.{2 } develop your leaders / transform your organization
  5. 5. KNOWING-DOING-BEING In their book Rethinking the MBA: Business Education at a Crossroads (Harvard Business KNOWING Press, 2010), Harvard Business School Concepts professors Srikant Datar and David A. Garvin Frameworks describe the need to re-create a balance Information between teaching “knowing, doing, and being” in MBA curricula. While distinct, these components of learning are mutually reinforcing. The authors’ contention is DOING BEING that finding ways to integrate these three Practice Identity elements is critical and that a particular Application Perspective emphasis needs to be placed on bringing Execution Values the “being” into balance. Our experience shows this to be true in corporate leadership development programs as well.leadership pipeline. The new cur- but should. He explains how training and skill-development pro-riculum provided a framework leadership development should grams focus on developing theirfor managers to understand the bring together a balance of “know- companies’ most important capa-crucial transition toward work- ing” (the acquisition of informa- bility. One reason is that most orga-ing through others and addressed tion), “doing” (the application nizations assess leaders againstcommon misconceptions and pit- and practice of new skills), and skills-based competency models,falls head-on. This message was “being” (the values, identity, and but these models rarely differ muchreinforced by senior leaders, who purpose that animate leaders). from one firm to another.shared stories with participants of The tendency is to treat this tril- Harvard Business Review Presstheir own development journeys. ogy as independent variables that authors Dave Ulrich and NormKey insights were translated into can be broken apart, which leads Smallwood emphasize the need foraction plans and implemented to missed opportunities to really leaders to focus on the pivotal capa-with support from the participants’ impact the way a leader behaves. bilities that differentiate a companymanagers. Framing the experience The process of integrating these from the competition. Even firmsaround mindset shifts brought the activities isn’t easy or quick. And in the same industry can find pow-concepts home for managers and in both business and corporate erful ways to tie key skills to theirprovided a context for meaningful education, the balance tends to strategy and culture. For example,application. The program, which be off, with a strong emphasis on the leadership development pro- “knowing” and “doing,” whichhad been considered unfocused grams at Walmart should look quite leads to developing leaders whoand lacking in impact, came to different from those at Nordstrom. are not self-aware and not reach-be seen as a key strategic lever in ing their potential. Yet simply recasting a competencythe organization, which directly model according to strategic pri-affected the firm’s ability to attract Beyond Individual orities isn’t enough. The impact ofand retain top talent. Development Plans BUILD PIVOTAL skills developed in isolation on anAs Harvard Business School pro- CAPABILITIES THAT DRIVE organization’s strategic challenges THE BUSINESSfessor David A. Garvin describes, will be minimal if learning profes-mastering the shift is a critical In a recent survey conducted by sionals don’t design programs toelement that most leader develop- McKinsey & Company, only 33 specifically address the challengesment programs don’t emphasize percent of respondents said their their firms currently face. OurH A R VA R D B U S I N E S S P U B L I S H I N G {3 }
  6. 6. Conclusion Our approach moves beyond a viewSTRATEGIC LEADER DEVELOPMENT EFFORTS SHOULD of work and learning as distinctBUILD “A COMMON AND WIDESPREAD UNDERSTANDING activities to an integrated view ofOF THE ORGANIZATION’S VISION AND CULTURE.” building leadership performance. Winning organizations:HANDBOOK OF LEADERSHIP THEORY AND PRACTICEJAY CONGER, HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW PRESS, 2010 o Integrate learning across the spectrum from formal to informal to drive continuous improvement: Leadership development profes- sionals can’t look at traditional classroom-based training, learningwork with clients has shown the remain a positive development, from others, and learning by doingdramatic outcomes from strategic, the reality of on-the-job learning as discrete activities. To get theissue-based programs that cascade falls far short of its promise. best individual and organizationalthrough multiple leadership levels Professor Kurt Fischer from results, they must design processesand engage leaders in a common Harvard’s Graduate School of and activities that integrate all ofstrategic conversation and project Education helps shed some light these over directly tied to the strategy. on why this is hard to do. Learning o Build in ongoing opportunitiesFor example, AT&T launched an isn’t a simple process whereby peo- for reflection and application ofaward-winning learning program ple move from incompetence to knowledge. Learning approachesaligned with its “One AT&T” stra- mastery in one easy step. Instead, should be extended to includetegic initiative following numerous learners go through multiple multiple forms of collaboration andmergers. In six months, the pro- phases of action and reflection— coaching. The ability to learn fromgram reached more than 100,000 where performance actually drops others in a systematic way greatlyfrontline, mid-level and senior lead- and then rises again. Complex increases an individual’s chancesers worldwide. It promoted a com- skills simply cannot be learned for success.mon culture and focused on pivotal without repeated application, and the level of performance is directly Leadership development is the criti-capabilities such as innovation, col- related to the level of support in cal priority in many of today’s large,laboration, and customer centricity. global organizations. Whether find- the work environment. Beyond Formal Training ing and developing talent to lead INTEGRATE LEARNING An effective approach to on-the- in emerging markets or replacing INTO WORK PROCESSES job leadership development must AND ENVIRONMENT leaders who have transitioned into guide leaders to master the right retirement, the question remains skills, provide multiple opportu- the same: What is the best, mostIn most organizations, formal nities for application, and offer effective way to develop a sufficientleadership development and con- an increased level of contextual pipeline of high-quality leaders whotinuous on-the-job learning expe- support through processes, envi- can help an organization thrive?riences remain an ad hoc process ronment, and leadership. In their For those learning leaders seriousinsufficiently managed and poorly Harvard Business Review article, “Is about helping their companies win,understood. More recently, com- Yours a Learning Organization?” a more strategic and integratedpanies have invested in social Harvard Business School profes- approach—one that broadens themedia tools with the ambition of sors Amy Edmonson and David traditional view of leadership devel-individuals sharing, learning, and A. Garvin further define how opment and training—is an abso-collaborating more virtually and firms can build learning mecha- lute must. Fjust in time. While these tools nisms into everyday work.{4 } develop your leaders / transform your organization
  7. 7. ABOUT THE AUTHORS SHERRY HEFFNER is senior director of product development for Harvard Business Publishing Corporate Learning. She is responsible for advancing Harvard Business Publishing’s portfolio of corporate leadership development solutions and its impact for companies worldwide. Her background in technology-enabled learning and development spans fifteen years. She can be reached at SEAN KENNEDY is a senior strategic relationship manager. For more than a decade, Sean has partnered with Harvard Business Publishing’s corporate clients to build leadership capacity and capability by designing customized leadership development programs for them. Previously, Sean held sales management positions in the telecom and banking industries. Contact Sean at JOSH BRAND is director of network learning and is responsible for the delivery of Leadership Direct, Harvard Business Publishing’s cohort-based, virtual, in-company management education program for clients around the globe. Josh has more than 15 years of executive education and management consulting experience and has built management education programs for clients around the world. Email him at PETER WALSH is senior director of global marketing, responsible for all phases of global marketing, including client acquisition, client relationship management, solution marketing, and brand development. Prior to joining Harvard Business Publishing, Peter was the chief marketing officer of several leading technology and services companies. Contact him at
  8. 8. UNITED STATES Harvard Business Publishing 60 Harvard Way Boston, MA 02163 phone: 800-795-5200 (Outside U.S. and Canada call 617-783-7888) email: EUROPE Harvard Business School Publishing Europe Pvt. Ltd. Vernon House 23 Sicilian Avenue London WC1A 2QS phone: +0203 463 2350 email: INDIA Harvard Business School Publishing India Pvt. Ltd. Unit # 4323 Grand Hyatt Mumbai - Apts Off Western Express Highway Santacruz (East), Mumbai - 400 055 phone: +91 22 65160248 email: infoindia@harvardbusiness.orgLEARN© 2011 Harvard Business School Publishing. All rights reserved.Harvard Business Publishing is an affiliate of Harvard Business School. MC168430811