leadership development

How To Ensure Your Leadership Development Programs Give You The Results You Need

9 September, 2020

In today’s ever-changing world, organizations are looking to transform themselves in order to stay competitive and be future-ready. In fact, Harvard Business’ 2018 State of Leadership report (download required) found that, of the organizations studied, 86 percent reported to be undergoing some state of transformation. One of the key drivers of an organization’s ability to transform is its ability to develop leaders who are strategic, agile and resilient. The more the learning and development of senior management is leveraged as a strategic tool, the better equipped companies are to transform. 

According to Training Industry, in 2019 alone, companies spent approximately $370 billion on leadership training. The offering is wide and the field ever-expanding. However, research, surveys and experts such as those from Harvard Business Reviewand McKinsey & Company warn that, despite the huge investments, the majority of these programs fail to deliver the results that were hoped for.

So what is going on? Why is it that despite all the talent, research and energy put into this field, we are missing the mark when it comes to up-skilling and increasing capabilities of leaders? Understanding ways in which we can make leadership development programs a strong tool in driving performance and leadership capabilities is crucial, particularly given a world in crisis that is hungry for leaders who are both competent and inspirational.

Rose Cartolari, international leadership consultant and executive coach, has seen some of the pitfalls as well as the effective approaches of the process, and in this article shares some of her key insights.

One of them is that we need to look beyond skills and competency building and include the deeper foundations of mindset and cognitive agility.

Being a great leader today means having a learning and listening mindset. It means being flexible, having the humility to understand where you need to learn as well as the connections to make this happen fluidly. In short, it’s about being able to deal with disruptions to the market and to your world views with grace and poise. 

The problem is that it is very hard to sit with the discomfort of having to change to do the deeper work of personal transformation. Development programs are great at offering new information or perspectives, but not as great when you need to wrestle with the uncomfortable questions that come from challenging yourself in order to change or grow.

When we go to the gym and work out, often we feel the “burn.” We physically feel the pain. Yet we know that this is the way forward. If we want to build strength and resilience and learn new ways of moving, the pain is the absolute correct response of a healthy body. But when we look to grow as leaders, we tend to shy away from difficult or uncomfortable conversations with ourselves and we don’t want discomfort while we stretch to grow. Nonetheless, if we want our leaders to grow, we have to push them to work more deeply on themselves.

As we try to make sense of uncertain times both behind and ahead of us, great leadership can be a game-changer, says Rose.

Forbes,  Rose Cartolari, 8 September 2020. Read the full article here.

Cranlana Centre for Ethical Leadership’s programs include the 2 day Executive Ethics, 6 day Executive Colloquium and year-long Vincent Fairfax Fellowship. We also deliver online and tailored corporate programs. Find the right program for you. They are all held under the Chatham House Rule to encourage genuine and open debate, and allow participants to candidly discuss sometimes sensitive issues in private while allowing the topic and nature of the debate to be made public, and contribute to a broader conversation. The alumni program offers ongoing leadership development support and a lifelong connection with Cranlana.

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