One Size Doesn't Fit All
Not all leadership development programs are created equal...
Great organizations are built upon the backs of great leaders, passionate and skilled men and women who have mastered key leadership skills. 

But, one size does not fit all. The right leadership skills depends on the gap in each individual, the job to be done, and the goals of the organization. A customized leadership development framework is key. 
  •  66% of companies have a program to identify high-potential leaders and help them advance
  • Yet, only 24% believe the programs are useful
  •  And only 13% have confidence in the leadership pipeline (down from 17% in 2014)
Why most leadership development programs fail...
1.  They assume one size fits all
Most leadership development programs are standardized based on the same leadership skills that were successful in another organization, despite key differences in industry, personnel, company goals, etc. They erroneously suppose that the same leadership skills for a sales manager are equally valuable to a warehouse manager or credit manager.
2.  They are unfocused 
We live in a society where more is better. We're overloaded with information that never soaks in nor takes root. We learn, but our behavior rarely changes. Multitasking is heralded as superior to focus and deep learning.

This tendency carries over into organizations implementing leadership development programs. They attempt to master 10-15 leadership skills instead of identifying the most impactful 2-3 leadership skills for each person that will drive company goals. Less is more as it forces identifying and focusing on what is most important.
3.  Leadership skills are taught in the classroom and not on the job
Deep and impactful learning is always achieved by "doing", over and over and over again. Yet, most organizations attempt to train key leadership skills in the classroom, via newsletters, company intranet sites, etc. Research shows that we retain or learn only 10% of what we hear, but nearly two-thirds when we do. 

Though more difficult and time and resource intensive, leadership skills must be taught on the job with sufficient repetition and learnings discussed. Every project and every meeting should be a leadership development opportunity.
4.  Leading causes of behavior are ignored 
Toyota invented the practice of asking why five times about every matter to challenge superficial and erroneous assumptions and force their managers into deeper understanding and analysis so their decision-making was based on the right data. Ice bergs are great examples of seeing the obvious and missing everything else. 

Similarly, it is only by understanding and addressing the underlying behaviors that are rarely obvious at first glance that the desired behaviors will be recognized. Changing underlying behaviors can and should be uncomfortable. Discomfort is a positive growth signal as we work toward closing the gap between undesirable behavior and desirable behavior that will create the desired results, i.e. organization's goals. 
5.  Benchmarks and progress aren't measured 
What are you measuring to determine the impact your current leadership development program is having on achieving company goals? 

Most organizations have no measurements or inadequate measures on their training programs. They approach it like old-fashioned branding marketing where results and impact went largely unknown. It was believed that the mere act would influence consumer behavior. Of course this type of marketing was very expensive and was only affordable for the large corporations. Fortunately, this has largely been replaced with measured, growth-hacking marketing that is bottom-line driven. Leadership development programs must follow suit and be measured and adjusted as learning and development occurs.
"Organizations will never rise above the level of its people."
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