Here’s a starting point. Stop trying to train your people to be great leaders. While traditional training serves a purpose and is often required to ensure knowledge of compliance and technical requirements, it’s simply not a strategic way to build the kind of leadership that will take your organization from today to an extraordinary tomorrow.
An article by McKinsey provides some staggering numbers: US companies alone spend almost $14 billion annually on leadership development. Colleges and universities offer hundreds of degree courses on leadership, and the cost of customized leadership-development offerings from a top business school can reach $150,000 a person.
You know me well enough to anticipate my next bit of advice:
In the face of a highly demanding and often frenetic business atmosphere, you’ve got to slow down long enough to determine the best path forward. To ensure that your organization is investing time, effort and financial resources in a way that provides solid value and tremendous return on investment.
Here are strategies to help your organization grow, as your leaders excel and your workforce thrives.
Interdepartmental Cross Pollination:
Here’s an example. Give your sales and marketing professionals the opportunity to spend a day or two shadowing R&D staff to better understand the intersection between product development, sales and marketing. Get the teams together to review best practices, uncover areas of misalignment, and better serve the company and your customers.
Mentor Rising Executives:
Pair senior executives with rising stars as a way to ensure that the time they spend in conversation brings maximum value for both parties and can be shared with peers for broader impact.
Develop a high-impact process for integrating new hires into the organization. You should also support internally promoted employees to help them transition smoothly and rapidly. This goes beyond the typical onboarding handbook or training module. Pair new people with peer mentors, spend time with your rising leaders, and create clarity around expectations, pace of business, culture of the organization, and more.
Engage the Team to Accelerate Success:
Bring your executive team together on a consistent basis (I’ve found a full day together each quarter is the bare minimum). Discuss key priorities, challenge approaches that need to change, continually build relationships and trust among the team, assess innovation, growth, market opportunities and obstacles just around the corner.
Slowing down to give yourself time for reflection allows you to dramatically speed up.
You’ve heard me say it before. Protecting time for strategic pauses to effectively plan and execute your approach will allow you to lead your organization while strategically attracting, retaining and developing a remarkable workforce. It’s the only way to create a thriving business poised to lead the market, build a rock solid customer base, and drive to a brilliant future.
To your continued success!
Adapted from my recent article in Training Industry online.
Liz Bywater is a gifted consultant and coach. Liz is thoughtful, insightful, and incisive, clearly identifying how clients can inadvertently slow progress toward peak performance. In this way, Liz is able to provide specific strategies for avoiding ineffective behaviors and attitudes, while outlining ways to increase effective outcomes.
– Nadine Marty, Ed.D., Director of Counseling Services, Rider University
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