Suzie Doscher: I like the summary and the suggested way forward of this article and based on professional experience would agree this to be a very effective approach: "
Traditional leadership development programs don’t do a good job of meeting the needs of dynamic organizations – those going through rapid growth, a big strategic shift or a change in ownership. That’s because such programs benefit the participants, but not so much the broader organization.
We define traditional leadership programs as those involving some kind of individual assessment (for instance, 360-degree surveys, personality tests, simulations), followed by one-on-one meetings with a professional coach.
The problem with traditional programs is that they can be perceived as operating inside a black box. Coaching conversations happen in private, and this creates the perception the program is disconnected from the overall business.
Individuals make changes to their own behaviour during the coaching process, and it is assumed that these coaching conversations and individual-level changes produce downstream benefits for the organization, though the benefits are often hard to perceive and measure.
Dynamic organizations, on the other hand, have different kinds of needs. These kinds of companies are navigating through an intense change process. And companies going through intense change processes need help with those processes. They need tools and information that will support them in executing their plans successfully.
Real-time insights about how the business is functioning across various parts of the company can be particularly valuable. Unfortunately, traditional leadership programs don’t yield any information that might benefit the change process, and they don’t help decision-makers better understand what is happening inside their organization in real-time.
This seems like a wasted opportunity. In traditional programs, coaches have dozens of conversations with clients about what is happening in the business, across many areas and functions. Coaches are also privy to management best practices that could be shared widely and benefit many people. These two types of information amount to raw material that leadership programs dig up, and could be utilized, but is instead being left untouched.
I believe that dynamic organizations need a different kind of leadership development program. They need programs to benefit not only the individual participants, but to also help drive the broader change process. They need a kind of hybrid model that supports both the participants’ and the organization’s needs.
How can we adopt this hybrid model?
•Collect insights from coaches about the functioning of the business, gleaned from their many conversations in different pockets of the company, to share with decision-makers. This information can then be used by executives to make refinements in executing the changes.
•Collect ideas from coaches about management best practices – what’s working and what’s not for managers as they lead change in their teams – and circulate this to other program participants, and throughout the organization, to promote collective learning.
Posted by Suzie Doscher, This column is part of Globe Careers’ Leadership Lab series, where executives and experts share their views and advice about leadership and management. TIM JACKSON AND LEANN SCHNEIDER Special to The Globe and Mail
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