As CHRO increasingly partner with business-unit heads to provide human-capital support that accelerates business performance, they increasingly seek real-time tangible outcomes from investments in development and training; disrupting the industry of vendors that supports them.
Recently the mid-year review meeting at a client (financial services) had the following discussion.
You’ve probably experienced similar senior management meetings; focusing on firm performance amidst a growing awareness of fundamental changes taking place in the industry, whilst the CHRO (Jane) is thinking how to defend the budget for training and wondering if they are even investing in the right skills, in the right people, and whether these investments will impact the performance of the firm fast enough so that the organization will still exist in 5 years! Sooner or later someone will ask why they don’t have enough of the right type of leaders – to which the reply ‘there is a war for talent and we can only pay in line with the market rates’ is neither productive nor accurate. Jane has already repositioned herself to be a ‘business-partner’ rather than ‘support services’; now she tries to have human capital strategic planning discussions rather than gaps and needs assessments – but as she listens quietly to the discussions in the mid-year review, she’s wondering if she could do more to help accelerate firm performance; she’s thinking about the outcomes she can control.
‘Getting what we pay for’ but not buying what we need
Spending globally on corporate executive training and development is worth an estimated US$160 billion [i] and is growing rapidly, estimated at >15% p.a. – not surprisingly as the context of business becomes increasingly dynamic, the impact of a leader’s decisions and performance can make or destroy billions of dollars of firm value in an ever decreasing timeframe.
When corporate leaders were asked to rank their top three human-capital priorities, almost two-thirds of the respondents identified leadership development as their number-one concern, however less than 10 percent report that their companies are effective at developing leaders. A separate study indicated that almost 1/3 of companies can identify specific situations where they have failed to exploit opportunities because they lack enough leaders with the right capabilities.
Insight revealed by our recent survey of CHRO and Learning & Development Officers[ii], indicates that the bulk of the spending, approximately 80%, is being spent to move executives through the talent pipeline of the firm or to broadly make management knowledge available. Less than 20% of training budgets is being spent on initiatives that demonstrably produce behavior-change, and of these only half (i.e. only about 10% of the total spending) is expected to directly impact business performance!
The focus of the vast majority of spending is to move participants across a competency framework rather than to directly address business imperatives, as such it is hardly surprising that there is little evidence of tangible impact on business performance. As one respondent commented “failure of application of learning in the businesses is the number 1 problem”. It is therefore predictable that “this investment doesn’t produce an acceptable return on investment (ROI) as the learning doesn’t lead to better organizational performance.” [iii]
The combination of the increasing need to constantly upgrade leadership capabilities, frustration with the results achieved from investment in training and the increasing desire to partner with the business-line heads, is driving CHRO to regard leadership development differently. Increasingly CHRO are focusing on impact outcomes rather than the inputs (competencies, costs, cohorts). This trend will reshape the initiatives that CHRO invest in, rebalance the portfolio of programmes and will redefine relationships with vendors. Vendors will need to talk less about their platforms and processes (classroom, clicks, coaching, consulting) and more about the behavior-changes and performance results they help to achieve.
We are not developing leaders for the future – the future is already here!
If we want to achieve greater impact from all the investment being made then we have to change how we think about development. The speed of business is continuously accelerating and the contexts of many businesses are increasingly ambiguous; the rise of unicorns and the demise of established corporations are evidence of a new era of rapid value creation and destruction. Firms need to accelerate to win – size is no indicator of future performance or sustainable competitive advantage. Firms can only accelerate if the leaders and the leadership teams are themselves accelerating; acquiring and using new skills, behaviors and mindsets. We are not developing leaders for the future – the future is already here! We need to be developing leaders to have greater impact now; ensuring results today with execution prowess whilst transforming the organization for tomorrow.
CHRO as a partner in driving business performance - through real-time leadership development
Building on the leadership team discussion at the beginning of this article; Jane (the CHRO) seized the moment to provide direct support for the performace of the business and also to refocus investments to increase impact.
We see that CHRO are increasely acting like Jane; becoming actively involved in helping to drive business performance, adjusting investments in development activities in response to the unfolding context of the business. As such behavior (active management of a portfolio of types of support, directed at achieving specific outcomes), becomes more widespread CHRO will redefine their relationships with vendors of training and development support; seeking flexibility and responsiveness.
[i] The Corporate Learning Factbook 2014, October 2014, Bersin by Deloitte
[ii] The state of leadership development 2016, June 2016, Wyatt & Netzley
[iii] Why leadership training fails and what to do about it, HBR Oct 2016, Beer, Finnstrom, Schrader
After various (too many) requests to 'further distil' the essential formula of Dynamic Advantage, I hereby present ONE ppt page!
I'm not sure how I feel about reducing the insights collected during the past 25 years of my helping leaders to achieve superior firm performance to one page. Maybe its the rebuttal to the Mark Twain quote above - "finally I have now completed the short letter to you, it just took me 25 years to write"
The Dynamic Advantage framework addresses key determinants of superior firm performance: STRATEGY & LEADERSHIP.
Please experiment for yourselves and let me know how you get along.
High Impact Leaders are impatient towards achieving the mission. They challenge almost constantly; whilst they themselves provide and expect others to also be generating ideas. They encourage experimentation with a ‘fast to scale or fast to fail’ attitude. These leaders expect and provide frank feedback and debate and constantly demand that new performance heights are achieved and exceeded.
This is the fifth article in my series looking at the characteristics of High Impact Leaders:Leaders that make a difference. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/article/want-high-impact-leader-heres-what-takes-dr-steve-wyatt
Unlike many leaders for whom, once momentum takes hold, they seek a balance between their time spent maintaining the ‘as is’ and pursuit of validated growth opportunities. High Impact Leaders have a much higher bias to further build momentum and extend the possible. Steve Jobs was famed for relentless pursuit of his ideas, tirelessly driving the efforts of teams of employees. High Impact Leaders are inquisitive of the world around them and expose themselves to multiple streams of input and information, which they constantly sift through for innovative connections. Steve Jobs was always absorbing idea-fragments from everything that was going on around him and that the key to success was to have ‘more dots and better dots’ (to quote a favourite expression of Prof. Hitendra Patel of IXL-Center http://www.ixl-center.com ). Another comment from Jobs is equally telling, “There’s an old Wayne Gretzky quote that I love. ‘I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.’ And we’ve always tried to do that at Apple.”
How do these leaders have ‘more dots, better dots’? - They combine the following:
In order to constantly build momentum these leaders need to mobilise multiple stakeholders and to maintain high levels of trust such that collaboration is efficient both across internal teams and with external parties. As a result of the momentum they generate High Impact Leaders create the space for step-up opportunities for talent. As I mentioned in the article on Execution Prowess, (https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/high-impact-leaders-execution-prowess-dr-steve-wyatt?trk=pulse_spock-articles)
High Impact Leaders seek out highly talented individuals. These may be mavericks that may not have survived through regular HR and talent management pipelines, they place this prodigious talent to lead the new initiatives that they have sparked (as highlighted by Sydney Finkelstein in his book ‘Superbosses’). To once more quote Richard Branson “Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don't want to.”
What distinguishes High Impact Leaders is that they are able (as described by Heifetz and Linsky, in their publications on Adaptive Leadership) to combine being ‘on the balcony’ critical for observing what is happening inside and in the external context of the organization, with being ‘on the dance floor’ in the midst of the action. High Impact Leaders do provide oversight to the initiatives that their protégés manage whilst they themselves maintain stakeholder alignment and support and simultaneously move on and spark other new initiatives. High Impact Leaders are able to create the space they need to stay sharp. They themselves place their name key initiatives and the success of their protégés. This takes courage, curiosity and conviction, as well as energy – so it is essential that they are able to tap into the energy source of their ‘Authentic Core’ (see the previous article https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/tap-your-inner-source-energy-guide-empower-yourself-others-wyatt?trk=pulse_spock-articles )
In ‘Seven Transformations of Leadership’, Rooke & Torbet describe an Alchemist as someone who ‘generate social transformations and reinvents organisations in historically significant ways’. This description would certainly fit within the definition of a High Impact Leader, although I believe that High Impact Leaders require the skills of ‘alchemy’ that I have mentioned, plus having an Authentic Core, Execution Prowess and being a Mission-driven Strategist as described in the other articles in this series, https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/want-high-impact-leader-heres-what-takes-dr-steve-wyatt?trk=pulse_spock-articles.
Quick Check: Are the leaders of your organization visibly sparking and igniting new initiatives? Are the leaders committing themselves to initiatives that accelerate growth and momentum? Is work fun and exciting? Are you spotting, attracting and empowering prodigious talent?
Snap to Action: Reflect on your team now, who do you think could be a game-changer, irrespective of their ‘rough edges’? Now which crazy, game-changing idea do you have that you could deploy this person to lead? Go and DO IT.
Execution Prowess: The ability to get things done – faster, better. High Impact Leaders lead by example, empower others and address the causes of any Knowing-Doing gap.
This is the fourth article in my series looking at the characteristics of High Impact Leaders:Leaders that make a difference. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/article/want-high-impact-leader-heres-what-takes-dr-steve-wyatt
High Impact Leaders have an orientation for action.
Leaders of Impact, commit to having an impact! They lay out the plans, take decisions, allocate responsibilities, ensure accountability and track and review performance – of themselves, of others and of the organisation. They make sure that they are visible role models of effectiveness, of results and of dynamism, they expect others to be equally energised and committed. Leaders in industrial revolution 4.0 are seen, take decisions and are directly involved.
High Impact Leaders actively work to overcome what Pfeffer and Sutton described as the ‘Knowing-Doing Gap’ - i.e. barriers to action. They identified 5 commonly found reasons why action is not achieved – are you or is your organisation falling into one or more of these traps?
Leaders of Impact embrace talent and empower the organization to act. They expect talent to come in all shapes and sizes, from inside and from outside the organization. They seek out, are able to recognise and to attract into the organization non-standard talent as well as talent that looks more conventional. They recognise that diversity of perspective and insight will lead to tensions between managers but that if led correctly such talent and tensions will accelerate performance through stimulating creativity and productivity. However High Impact Leaders do expect loyalty and commitment.
High Impact Leaders establish goals and metrics for the performance of their executives – they relax the ‘reins’ of input and behaviour control, typically policies and procedures from HR and Finance, in order to allow the organization to run faster. Instead they define clear performance and outcome metrics and then align policies that reward the performances delivered, e.g. merit-based and results-based compensation, promotion and recognition.
Unfortunately, many an aspiring leader fails to ‘move the needle’ of performance of their organization despite their bold vision, their key initiatives and personal authenticity - because they fail to align the application of policies and procedures by which control is exerted. This is frequently observed in East-West cross-cultural organisations and joint ventures where one or other (or both) parties focus on compliance and control rather than adopting the mind-set of empowerment.
Trust is an essential foundation for High Impact Leadership.
Without trust the leader cannot empower others. It is essential that the managers and employees trust how the policies and procedures of the organization will be applied if they are to actually follow a leader who seeks to energise and empower them. It is essential that they trust each other if they are to collaborate.
David Horsage, author of The Trust Edgecomments, “Leaders who inspire trust garner better output, morale, retention, innovation, loyalty, and revenue, while mistrust fosters skepticism, frustration, low productivity, lost sales, and turnover. Trust affects a leader’s impact and the company’s bottom line more than any other single thing”.
Stephen Covey, author of The Speed of Trust: The One Thing That Changes Everything says that trust is built on two dimensions: Character and Competence. Character includes integrity, motive, and intent with people. Competence includes capabilities, skills, results, and track record. Building trust requires time and consistency of behaviour, of words and results.
Jim Dougherty, lecturer at MIT Sloan says, “Establishing trust is the top priority. The best way to start building trust is to take the time and meet as many individual contributors as you can as soon as you can. In addition to meeting customers, meeting rank-and-file employees should be your top priority”.
The ‘Art and Craft’ of getting things done.
In 2013, Harvard Business Review published an article about the management approaches of Sir Alex Fergusson, who had then recently retired after an incredibly successful career as manager of Manchester United football club, dubbed the “Fergusson Formula” there are several relevant insights for Execution Prowess.
1. Start with the foundations: Ensure the organisational health of the fundamentals of the business
2. Dare to rebuild your team: Keep talent fluid, attract in new, redeploy, move out under performers
3. Set high standards and hold everyone to them: Role-model of values, energy and commitment.
4. Never, ever cede control: To lead, the leader must be followed; the leader sets the stage for soliciting inputs and may invite debate, but the final decision must clearly remain with the leader and then the team must move ahead accordingly.
5. Prepare to win: Focus on the results, align everything to achieve the outcome
6. Rely on the power of observation:See how the external context is changing and the internal workings of the organization are developing and performing
7. Match the message to the moment: Intercede directly with the right action in a timely manner delivered to the right place and person
8. Never stop adapting: Flexible, quick to adapt to changing circumstances, embrace new technology
Quick Check: Are you getting things done? Are difficult decisions made and commitments followed through by yourself and the leadership in your organization? Do initiatives slowly get abandoned without explanation? Do decisions get ‘reinterpreted’ after the results are realised?
Snap to Action: Create a list of decisions taken and identify the subsequent actions – and results. Reflect on each of the 5 reasons for the Knowing-Doing Gap – which ones are found in your organization. Decide to act on one of the issues this week; share this decision with a colleague and ask them to hold you accountable that you will have acted by the end of the week.
For those that feel there is room for improvement in your own Execution Prowess I refer you not only to all the authors and texts noted above but also for a framework to enhance execution in an organization Kaplan & Norton's book ‘The Balanced Scorecard’; alternatively for personal effectiveness to David Allen’s book ‘Getting Things Done’
I hope you enjoyed this article and find it useful. If you do please 'Like' and do please also add a comment or give me some inputs for improvements.
Successfully navigating in dynamic and ambiguous contexts towards a goal that inspires stakeholders.
For the average listed company, approximately 70% of its value is derived from expectations of the value of its future earnings; yet the future is increasingly uncertain and dynamic. The greater the confidence that investors have in the ability of the firm and its leadership to successfully navigate in the murky future, the higher the valuation of the firm. To lean-forward into the unknown future and to position and equip the organization for greater future success is the most important challenge of a High Impact Leader.
This is the third article in my series looking at the characteristics of High Impact Leaders:Leaders that make a difference. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/article/want-high-impact-leader-heres-what-takes-dr-steve-wyatt
The High Impact Leader “competes for today whilst preparing and investing for greater success tomorrow” (ref. Derek Abell, founding president of ESMT); they are able to:
Future relevant Strategic Insight is derived from being sensitive to the mega-trends, disruptive forces, technologies and conventional and unconventional players that are reshaping the context in which the organization is and could be operating. Having a far-sighted perspective to see beyond the present to the possibilities to come and yet also being near-sighted to see the details of what is happening now and can be improved upon.
High Impact Leaders challenge existing thinking; their own and that of others, they seek to identify biases and assumptions that colour future projections from the past behaviours and contexts. They have the courage to make clear, well informed decisions and commit to a strategic plan. But, more than this they are also able to hold the tension between the determined pursuit of the strategic plan and review and adjustment of the initiatives as the actual future unfolds. They invest in “agility” in order to enable the organization to move from one position of ‘Transient Competitive Advantage’(ref. Rita Gunther McGrath) to the next. They do not mistake ‘agility’ as a substitute for insight nor the commitment to pursue clear strategic plans (ref. the “fallacy of ‘Detachment” according to Henry Mintzberg).
As Roger Martin (until recently the Dean at Rotman and an ex-colleague from Monitor Group) pointed out in his book ‘Opposable Mind’, successful leaders are capable of holding the tension between seemingly opposing options, and to seek solutions that are integrative of both objectives (e.g. optimizing results today whilst investing for tomorrow; committing to a clear strategic plan whilst also investing in agility). The ability to hold the tensions between seemingly conflicting objectives, to be integrative in their thinking (this is often described as the ability to act ‘ambidextrously’; ref. Tushman and O’Reilly) is one of the distinguishing skills of High Impact Leaders.
The most important factor driving employee motivation is a shared sense of Purpose (i.e. the Mission of the organization), according to a recent report by McKinsey & Co. Purpose and Meaning are more important to employee motivation and engagement than financial incentives, once an adequate threshold for income has been achieved. (ref. Daniel Pink, his book “Drive”). Achieving successful implementation and maintaining a high performance organization requires engaging hearts and minds; not only in a transformation journey but also continuously, for day-by-day performance. Engaged employees use their discretionary effort, they pick up on relevant information and are more likely to exhibit initiative and creativity. According to Aon Hewitt, engaged employees are more likely to Say (positive messaging that reinforces behaviour) – Stay (reduced staff turnover, career path discussions) – Strive (performance and transparency), which leads to better outcomes for the employees and for the organization. Yet shockingly less than 20% of employees at many firms are found to be highly engaged, (I refer you to the info-graphic at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jeff-fermin/13-disturbing-facts-about_b_6140996.html and to the punchy article by Fast Company http://www.fastcompany.com/3009012/the-costs-of-ignoring-employee-engagement). High Impact Leaders ensure that the Purpose/Mission that their organization pursues is relevant and motivating to all the stakeholder groups, including employees.
Jeff Immelt, CEO of GE, recently noted “Today: big companies are distrusted”. And decreasingly, financial and growth metrics of an organization are regarded as meaningful motivators of the management cadre, and even less so for the overall workforce. In his speech, he also pointed towards a solution noting that; “Governments and global institutions are failing to address the world’s challenges”. An increasing number of global firms have more revenue than nation states and reach more customers than the population of even major countries (Facebook is reported to now have more active users than the 1.3 bn population of China). There is the opportunity and the need for firms to define their Purpose and Mission to address major societal issues, to step into the void left by national and global institutions; this is good business, engages employees and stakeholders and is good for society.
A related concept of leadership is that of ‘servant leadership’ (ref. Adam Grant’s book ‘Give and Take: A revolutionary approach to success’), in which the success of the organization is a bi-product of serving a societal need and the success of the leader is a bi-product of recognising and serving the needs of different stakeholder groups. To quote Robert Greenleaf, (regarded as the founder of modern thinking on servant leadership, ref. "The Institution as Servant") “A servant-leader focuses primarily on the growth and well-being of people and the communities to which they belong. While traditional leadership generally involves the accumulation and exercise of power by one at the “top of the pyramid,” servant leadership is different. The servant-leader shares power, puts the needs of others first and helps people develop and perform as highly as possible”.
High Impact Leaders thrive on the tension between the pursuit of winning strategies and agility, migrating from one position of transient advantage to the next; they establish Purpose and Mission that motivates employees and addresses societal challenges. They lean-forward into the murky future and accelerate performance growth. They make a ‘ding in the universe’.
Quick Check: What’s the level of engagement and motivation in your organization? Is there a strong sense of purpose that pervades and excites the workforce? Are you investing for tomorrow’s performance whilst also delivering results today? Is your organization forward leaning, future orientated or are you projecting from the past?
Snap to Action: Restate the mission / purpose of your organization and actually go and explain to a working adult under 25 years-old why they should dedicate the next 20 years of their life to that cause. Repeat that 4 times and reflect on their reactions.
This is the third article in my series looking at the characteristics of High Impact Leaders:Leaders that make a difference.
Please give me some feedback, Likes and Shares!!
This is the second article in my series looking at the characteristics of High Impact Leaders: Leaders that make a difference. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/article/want-high-impact-leader-heres-what-takes-dr-steve-wyatt
There's a lot of talk about authenticity, what it is, how to develop it, whether it is helpful or harmful.....to illustrate I refer you to the recent debate between Adam Grant and Brene' Brown in New York Times."Unless You’re Oprah, ‘Be Yourself’ Is Terrible Advice".
However, from my experience High Impact Leaders understand who their inner-man (woman) is and they have arranged their leadership life to tap into and let the energy flow from that self understanding (so this is my definition of authenticity for leaders).
High Impact Leaders know what matters most to them, which contexts, relationships and activities energise them and which frustrate them and dissipate their energies. This self-understanding guides their actions, empowers them - and enables them to guide and empower those around them as well. To quote Bill George “Authentic leaders not only inspire those around them, they empower them to step up and lead authentically”.
High Impact Leaders understanding of their authentic self evolves over time, it is a process of self-examination and reflection of the ‘crucible moments’ in their life. They have “discovered, confronted and are willing to tell the truth about their ‘in authenticities’” (to quote Prof. Michael Jensen & Erhard). The process of self-discovery continues as a leader then strives to align their circumstances, relationships, actions and words with their authentic self. High Impact Leaders put their authenticity to use to have a positive impact on their organization or team in pursuit of the issues they care most about; letting their energy radiate out to motivate others around them.
Leadership authenticity connects strongly with Emotional Intelligence (Ref. Daniel Goleman: What makes a leader?). The five components of EI being Self-awareness, Self-regulation, Motivation, Empathy and Social Skills. Authentic leaders need to regulate their behaviour and interaction style dependent on the audience and message being delivered. To take this further, I quote Sir Alex Ferguson (the legendary manager of Manchester United football club, known for his highly authentic persona and his occasional brutal outbursts) “you have to match the message to the moment.”
Hence authenticity as a leader is about the inner core, knowing your internal energy source and aligning activities, relationships and behaviours to empower self and teams. However, some people define ‘authenticity’ to be a type of self-righteousness which can lead to speaking and acting in ways that the person deems are ‘authentic’ to themselves but which they accompany with the expectation that the organization or society accommodates them. Brazenly broadcasting about oneself and opinions without regard to the potential detriment of working relationships and team performance is not leadership authenticity!
In his recent post http://www.billgeorge.org/page/hbs-the-truth-about-authentic-leaders, Bill George reaffirms that authenticity is at the core of the leader, not only at the surface “Authentic Leaders, become skilled at tailoring their style to their audiences, imperatives of the situation, and readiness of their teammates to accept different approaches…..These flexible styles aren’t inauthentic if they come from a genuinely authentic place…. As leaders gain experience and develop greater self-awareness, they become more skilful in adapting their style, without compromising their character.”
To quote Rob Goffee and Gareth Jones (Managing Authenticity: The paradox of great leadership); Leaders “often assume that authenticity is an innate quality—that a person is either authentic or not. In fact, authenticity is a quality that others must attribute to you. No leader can look into a mirror and say, “I am authentic.” managers who exercise no control over the expression of their authentic selves get into trouble very quickly when they move into leadership roles.”
Undoubtedly the authenticity of a leader is important in Industrial Revolution 4.0, where the fluidity of contexts and relationships combines with a cacophony of voices and influences and uncertainty and ambiguity abound. Industrial Revolution 4.0 increases the need for a leader to be self-reflective, to seek out and nurture their inner source of energy such that they can guide and empower themselves and those around them. Unfortunately, in the social-media dominated context that we live in today it is too easy to select to be fed a torrent of ‘liked’ content, filtered to increase our sense of being right and potentially to drown out views that might stimulate our own self-reflection.
Not only do authentic leaders seek to be truthful about both their own personal contradictions (‘inauthenticities’ as Prof. Jensen calls them), they also actively seek to confront contradictions (inauthenticities) of their organization - weeding out falsehoods that undermine energy & performance. This is far from easy or immediate for the individual and is harder still for an organization. To illustrate:
Several years ago an American MNC appointed a new president for the Asia-region. After being appalled by the results of an Employ Engagement survey he setup initiatives to promote empowerment of middle management and to encourage cross department / cross BU collaboration. However, at the same time, cautious of business practices in Asia, he deployed Internal Audit teams to finely comb through the organization and ensure strict policy compliance; he also encouraged whistle-blowing and tightened the need for senior executives to sign-off any exceptions. The result was that managers became afraid to take initiative and openly discussed that compliance had become more important than business performance. The energy drained out of the organization. Not surprisingly the new president’s initiatives for Employee Engagement and cross department collaboration had little impact and his credibility was weakened.
An increasingly discussed aspect of authenticity – is achieving personal balance, being centred. Leaders suffer from great stress and as such must build resilience through ensuring balance in all the key areas of their life; imbalance will lead to destabilisation. (Ref. Caroline Webb author of “How to Have a Good Day: Harness the Power of Behavioural Science to Transform Your Working Life”). Just as the leader must discover and tap into their inner core for the source of energy to support their drive to achieve the goals that matter most to them, they must also preserve well-being and nurture energy through investing in balance and resilience in all aspects of their life; Physical health, Emotional health, Spiritual health, Financial health. The leader must inspire and provide energy for the organization, to do this continuously they must invest in protecting their own sources of energy. Leaders who do not maintain integral health are likely to underperform over the long term and they may also find themselves vulnerable to pressures, relationships and situations that challenge the ethical value of their behaviour.
Authentic leaders inspire and empower others, they understand and tap into their internal sources of energy and they seek to align their context, relationships and activities to empower themselves and the teams around them. The authenticity of a High Impact Leader comes from aligning their actions and relationships with the source of energy in their inner core. They adjust their external self to “match the message to the moment”, whilst retaining the authenticity that empowers themselves and others.
Quick Check: What is it like in your organization? Are contradictions discovered, discussed and confronted in an open manner? Is there alignment of behaviours with core values and sources of motivation? Does the leadership propagate self-reflection in pursuit of strengthening leadership capability?
Snap to Action: Can you think of any contradiction in the behaviour of the organization? Poll the employee and management populations with an online survey, ask them to describe their experiences - and then show action on key contradictions that are identified.
This is the 2nd post in: High Impact Leaders: Leaders that make a difference
Please give me some feedback: Add comments, ‘Like’ and ‘Share’
Last week I caught sight of myself on TV - explaining an evolving model of leadership development - with my hands! Too much hand movement 'yes' but a point worth making.
The model I described does have relevance for a cohort where individuals come from different organisations, but it has been in my dialogues with CEO and CHRO that greatest appetite has been revealed for a new model of leadership development for the cohorts within their own organization.
On the one hand (I was waving my right hand around) we have leadership training; typically provided by business schools, personal coaches and an increasing array of independents and consulting firms. That world is changing - rapidly; the demands on leaders are changing, the context in which leaders operate is evolving, how we train is changing and we continue to explore how technology can enable and enhance the process and overall effectiveness of training. These changes are important, but each type of provider tends to think about the future of training from their own legacy point-of-view and available resources.
On the other hand (now I was waving my left hand around) are the issues and challenges that organisations are actually facing and the leaders are expected to address. Leaders that successfully resolve issues and overcome challenges create value; whilst during the process of resolving the issue creates new knowledge, generates innovation and builds up experience.
The model of Leadership Development that is becoming more popular is (I bring my hands together!) facilitating the cohort of leaders-in-training to directly address and actually be responsible to resolve the most pressing issues facing the organisation. Creating value for the organization and enriching their personal experience whilst developing their leadership skills. I call this Application Centred Leadership Development (not a very catchy name, but it gets the point across). Learning whilst Doing; where the 'doing' is solving a business-critical issue and much of the 'learning' is leadership competencies.
To accelerate the development of leaders and increase the return on investment in training, start by identifying the business-critical issues that the organization must resolve (not the 'nice-to-have' questions that often become training projects). Design the development journey with the perspective of solving the business critical issue, as an obligation. Ensure that during the journey you equip the executives with the desired leadership, teaming and process skills as well as the techniques, tools and perspectives to successfully solve the issue in a timely manner.
At this point, for the camera, I had both hands held palms together with fingers spaced out (this was the part where I was definitely waving my hands around too much!). I turn my hands so that the right hand is upper most. This represents a programme that is designed from the perspective of leadership training, we 'know' that to make the learning stick it has to be applied (represented by my left hand, now hidden below the right). i.e. the programme is designed with leadership competencies in mind and a by-product is the output from the exercises and projects that the individuals and groups work on. I twist my hands over so that the left hand is now upper most and the right is hidden below. The alternative model is that we design a process that leads the cohort to resolve the business-critical challenge facing the organization. The 'by-product' of this process is the personal development of the individuals, however we can deliberately build up the leadership skills training and emphasise personal development.
The growing interest in Application Centred Leadership Development is, I think, primarily driven by the increasing hunger for ROI, tangible value is created by the solutions created as well as the less tangible value resulting from the leadership competency development. There are also other benefits such as heightened motivation in the groups that have successfully addressed an important issue for the organization and more effective embedding of the leadership skills as they themselves have lived through their own story of application - a 'live case' they will always remember.
However, much as the customers (CEO, CHRO) may want Application Centred Leadership Development, few existing 'vendors' are able to provide it, as a combination of skills is required which traditionally exist separately in different types of service provider. Application Centred Leadership Development requires a 'mash' between a top business consultancy, capable of designing and managing through the process to solve the business-critical issue, combined with the learning design expertise and facilitation skills typically only found in top business schools.
I parted my hands for effect but the interviewer had the last word... "But, is it feasible for business schools to support solving business-critical issues in a timely fashion through leadership training.... or will it be business consultants that develop real expertise in leadership training despite the poor showings to-date". I didn't get to share my answer in the interview, but so that you know...... I think that a new business model is required, one aligned with the evolving customer focus for ROI from Leadership Development and that is responsive to the rapid rate of evolution of the context of the client organization.....maybe the seeds can be found in Leadership Consulting.
What 25 Years of working with the best—and less than best—has taught me about the leaders that actually make a difference.
A High Impact Leader is able to inspire and provide direction to a group of individuals such that they collectively achieve outstanding performance. High Impact Leaders set bold visions, confound skeptics, attract prodigious talent, build up others and the organisations they lead overcome ‘impossible’ challenges and have a positive impact on society. They ‘make a ding in the universe’ as Steve Jobs famously commented. Industrial Revolution 4.0 will place a spotlight on the achievements of these leaders and the weakness of others as the speed and magnitude of value creation and destruction increases and transparency and interconnectivity abound.
Over the past 25 years of working with leaders, the ‘good’ and ‘not-so-good’, from corporations, NGO and religious organisations I have often reflected on what I think separates High Impact Leaders from others; over this and the next few postings I will share with you these musings, looking through the lens to see what skills, characteristics and practices will be increasingly important in the unfolding future. Do please let me know your thoughts and builds!
High Impact Leaders strive for prowess in four areas, they are:
Some leaders focus on developing from Inside-Out, first anchoring their leadership model on their Authentic Core, being able to answer the question posed by Goffee & Jones "Why should anyone be led by you?" They inspire trust and consistently display and adhere to a high level of personal integrity which they insist is mirrored by the organization. Other leaders develop more from the Outside-In, firstly mastering skills such as Execution Prowess, being a Catalyst able to extend the performance of the organization or being expert as a Strategist, setting the direction and establishing meaning and purpose for the organization. It is the combination of both ‘Inside – Out’ and ‘Outside – In’ that distinguishes High Impact Leaders; prowess in all four areas that are relevant and applied to the context in which the leader is active. An example of a globally recognised personality that I consider to be a High Impact Leader I would highlight Sir Richard Branson.
Most individuals I have worked with are not yet High Impact Leaders, they do not yet have mastery in all the four areas. For them and for those of us who are dedicated to supporting the development of leaders, the High Impact Leaders model provides a framework and guidance for accelerating development. Through the four ‘lenses’ we identify areas requiring strengthening and opportunities to put the skills into practice. The goal being to accelerate the development of leaders whilst accelerating the performance of the teams and organisations that they lead. High Impact Leaders – have impact! Leadership skills are only of value if they are applied; the best measure of the prowess of an individual leader is the difference in performance that the leader creates for the organization.
If you enjoyed the post, please click the thumbs up icon above and let me know!
Dr Steve Wyatt is hosting a discussion with business executives keen to explore ways to increase company performance and value in these uncertain and 'dynamic' times - on 16th March at 1:30PM at Singapore Management University. Some 90 folks already signed up (thank you). Sign up quick, don't miss it!
A business consultant and educator; focusing on global and regional firms operating in multiple fast changing contexts. Dr. Steve has consulted with major corporations on strategies and operations globally, Asia, Western Europe and UK. Dr. Steve is also an accomplished executive trainer and educator, with particular depth of experience in business strategy and management practice in Asia.