Companies trying to create the ‘well-rounded leader’ miss the mark on how to unlock performance of their employees. Traditional leadership development looks like a funnel down – the more time you spend at the company, the more you look, talk, and act like the company. “Strong Culture” can be a euphemism for lack of original thinking or lack of diversity (whether of personality, operating styles, skill sets, or demographic).
Leadership development should flip the funnel on it’s head, allowing people to unlock their true, unique, and distinctive strengths to bring to bear in tackling the companies biggest challenges or greatest opportunities. Leadership development should include personalized assessments, self-reflection, and ultimately a mapping of one person’s own ambitions against the corporate strategy.
When it pertains to stocks and investments, this is called mosaic theory – and it can just as easily be applied to career and leadership development.
We grow up operating with a remediation mindset. We ask parents in our training if their child comes home with a report card that has an A, three B’s, and a D what will the dinner conversation be about? Inevitably it’s the D. What will we be spending more time on and studying more? The D. In business (and life) though, our mark will be made by turning the A into an A+. Standard leadership development programs are all too often about setting the floor of performance (everyone at a B- please), cobbled together by HR folks who have been fed a steady stream of feedback for all the things employees get wrong throughout the year, repackaged then as leadership development.
Great leadership development involves allowing each employee to turn their A talent into an A+ asset for the company. It’s not a one-size-fits-all approach and it’s not about being “well-rounded”.
About the Series
As we get into the fourth quarter, we’ve been reflecting a lot on common pitfalls of leadership development planning and ultimately leadership development programming. These missteps challenge what we take for granted at The Collective Academy as “leadership gospel” as we assemble and deploy our unique brand of programming across the country.
Whether you run leadership development programs yourself or you think your company needs to level up or add-on to what’s currently offered, we offer this series as a checklist for getting it “right” on the way to building a transformational professional experience for your colleagues.