Strategy-Driven Leadership: The Playbook for Developing Your Next Generation of Leaders

1st Edition

Michael A. Couch, Richard S. Citrin

Productivity Press
November 22, 2019 Forthcoming
Reference - 192 Pages - 25 B/W Illustrations
ISBN 9780367332266 - CAT# 315523

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It’s estimated that U.S. companies spend over $14 billion annually on leadership development (Wentworth and Loew 2013, O’Leonard & Loew 2012.) Match that number to the abundant and growing research that finds most leadership development to be ineffective and the conclusion is a phenomenal amount of waste. A few of the research studies indicate: • A 2015 study by the Brandon Hall Group found that 81 percent of organizations reported that they were not very effective at developing their leaders. Only 18 percent indicated that their leaders were very effective at meeting key business goals (Loew 2015) • A 2017 survey by McKinsey found that a mere 11 percent of five hundred global executives felt that their leadership development efforts achieved desired results (Feser et al. 2017). • In the 2017 CEO Challenge study conducted by the Conference Board, 41 percent of global CEOs reported that their leadership development efforts were of very high or high quality (Mitchel and van Ark 2017). The remedy for this situation is to have business strategy drive leadership development instead of creating programs that match a one size fits all approach to leadership. This book's approach, called Strategy-Driven Leadership Development (SDLD), puts business strategy first. It maintains an emphasis on building leadership programs around what it will take to make the business successful as opposed to implementing a program in the hopes that it will benefit the strategy. The following four components naturally flow within the model: 1. BUSINESS STRATEGY Because strategy is the key driver for each organization, leadership development must flow from it and support the effort to fulfill the strategic mission. 2. ORGANIZATION DEMAND Strategy determines the organization’s demand for talent and skills. Leadership development must seek to enable the skills needed to successfully execute the strategy. 3. LEADERSHIP CAPACITY Once the organization demand is clear, it’s time to assess the capabilities available in the organization. 4. INTENTIONAL LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT The gap between organization demand and leadership capacity provides the basis for development efforts that serve the business strategy. This ensures that leadership development is fully integrated with the demands of the business. The result is a differentiated and targeted approach called Intentional Leadership Development, which provides the structure for transforming how leadership development is undertaken. At the heart of this book, however, is the explanation of how small, incremental changes in action and perspective create meaningful changes in the way leadership is developed. The focus is on the leadership behaviors associated with success for any and every company. Some companies may need leaders with better financial acumen while others may require better teamwork for success. These skills are learnable and when the energy of an organization is behind it, then leadership development can be transformational. This is what the authors mean by “retooling” rather than stating that prior leadership efforts have failed and that we must start all over again. There are many good ideas and actions that are currently being played out in leadership programs, but they miss the critical element of tying their efforts to the business strategy. These actions benefit the organization in the following ways: • C-suite leaders, who recognize the importance of developing the next generation of leaders want a program that provides immediate benefits to the organization. By tying development to business strategy, participants using this approach deliver immediate value to the organization. • Human Resource leaders demonstrate strategic value to their business partners by developing leaders who address current and real business issues. They no longer have to hope that the leadership development program will be more than a shiny new nickel whose impact will wear off after 3 months. • Managers will appreciate the concrete and specific actions they can take which will allow them to build leadership development activities into their regular daily operations as opposed to having to find “special time” to work on development, a strategy we refer to as “build it in, don’t bolt it on.” • Up and coming leaders will gain the specific skills and competencies they will need for success in their current and future roles as leaders. Our concept of “mass personalization” means that the system allows everyone to customize their leadership activities to meet their needs while addressing the larger concerns of the business. Retooling Leadership Development changes the way organizations think about and drive their leadership talent initiatives among their current and upcoming leaders. The book is filled with research, science-based information, case studies and practical hands-on tools on why and how this Strategy-Driven Leadership Development model will transform company leadership approaches.


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