Three steps to developing new leaders.

Posted by on Jun 12, 2014 in Leadership | Comments Off on Three steps to developing new leaders.

Creating New Leaders Increases Performance and Profits  

According to an article in the April 2014 McKinsey Quarterly, “The hidden value of organizational health and how to capture it,”  organizational health creates long term superior financial and operational performance. For over ten years McKinsey performed research measuring the organizational health of hundreds of companies correlating a health index to specific management practices. The article defines the health of an organization as being based on the ability to align around a clear vision, strategy, and culture; to execute with excellence; and the ability to renew the organization’s focus over time by responding to market trends.

They compared the health metrics of more than 270 publicly traded companies with their financial-performance metrics, and found that the healthiest generated total returns to shareholders that were three times higher than those of companies in the bottom quartile and over 60 percent higher than those of companies with “middle of the road” health profiles. Companies consistently outperforming their peers generally followed one of four distinct approaches. The approach most interesting to me is “the leader-driven approach,” no surprise there. You can learn more about the other three management approaches by clicking here to read the article.

The Hallmark of the Leader-driven Approach
The good news is that your organization need only adopt one out of the four approaches to increase performance and profits. The hallmark of the leader-driven approach is the presence of talented high-potential leaders who are free and held accountable to deliver results. These organizations leverage role modeling and real experience to develop high-potential leaders.

Special projects can drive leadership development because they allow these talented individuals to seek the rewards of hard work, constant challenges, collaborative missions and career opportunities. It’s the same principle used to motivate individuals to play video games. It is the addictive allure of a quest that advances someone to the next level of the game. I have one large corporate client that has a successful high-potential program in place and uses this idea of a quest or a special project to stretch these individuals and create new leaders.

Three Steps to Develop New Leaders 

1. Identify a challenging project with executive sponsorship.  Several human resource professionals have revealed to me that it is important to get a committed sponsor to support the developing leader.

2. Provide specific training and consider assigning a mentor to help with developing technical and management skills.

3. Select a leadership coach for both individual and group coaching to: promote self-awareness, uncover blind-spots, shift non-working behaviors, and develop leadership skills. Group coaching is an effective way to use the collective wisdom of peers to increase learning, provide on-going support and achieve important organizational goals.

Perhaps you might want to use this leader-driven approach for your organization to increase operational performance and profits. Most talented high-potential leaders want challenging and meaningful work, so consider how you might start building their leadership capabilities, increase their visibility and provide a way for them to move up in your organization.

I have been meeting with many HR professionals this year to learn more about how they develop high potential leaders and I would like to invite you to share your thoughts and schedule a brief conversation. You can contact me at 510-559-6929 or