Let’s face it: in a dynamic economy, it’s not easy to effectively identify and grow employees into next generation leaders. And, the research shows it to be true: 43 percent of organizations rate leadership development as the talent management function that needs the most improvement (according to Bersin & Associates).
So, what’s an organization to do? How do they build a successful internal leadership plan that identifies future corporate all-stars while battling the ups and downs of economic volitility? Rania Stewart, Peoplefluent’s Senior Product Manager for Performance and Succession, broke it down into four crucial steps in her recent webcast “High Definition Leadership for the 21st Century Organization” – the replay of which is available here.
- Obtaining and maintaining executive sponsorship for growth initiatives. Gaining support for leadership programs by executives provides program legitimacy, helps manage expectations and provides an approved framework for growth. Obtaining and maintaining this executive sponsorship for leadership programs is best achieved with high levels of exposure and transparency. Are executives consistently made aware of and personally involved with formal mentoring and coaching programs? Regular progress reports, formal talent review processes and visibility into assigned mentors (and their mentees) can help to deliver on these goals.
- Matching breadth/depth of experience with growth opportunities (guided by tailored leadership competencies aligned to business strategy). When it comes to matching breadth/depth of experience with growth opportunities, visibility is crucial. As development paths are created, can your organization perceive future people and process successes? Organizations can utilize talent assessments, 360 tools and feedback coaches and talent pool development to identify highly qualified individuals early in their career. These tools can provide a feedback-rich environment and allow for career development and targeted development planning.
- Establishing talent pools and development programs to target all levels of leadership. One of the key goals for any organization is to identify future leadership at all ends of the organization, not just among executives and managers. In order to pull that off, all levels of employee need to be involved. Formal mentoring and coaching programs can help identify growing talent, as can social collaboration tools, mobile talent management and profile sharing, mentor matchmaking tools and affinity grouping.
- Monitor and refine program impact effectiveness. One of the key steps toward understanding program impact is the ability to formally measure its effectiveness. To that end, you must be able to answer three questions:
- How well is our organization using learning to drive needed performance improvement?
- What is our organization doing that facilitates performance improvement from learning? What needs to be maintained and strengthened?
- What is your organization doing, or not doing, that impedes performance improvement from learning? What needs to change?
There are many reasons why it is in the organization’s best interest to formally plan for leadership changes. The key, however, is to be both proactive and reactive. On the proactive side, establish mentor/mentee programs that help identify talent within the organization. On the reactive side, be sure to adjust thinking and process based on available talent and increasing visibility into the success (or failure) of existing programs.