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Executives agree on the top three success factors from a list of 50 possible actions.

There’s no end of advice on the net about must-have tools for leadership development. But what really makes a difference.

Here is what does not. It is not a massive investment in data analytics, nor is it gamification, nor having the best app in town – customized for your company.

The answers are as simple as they are obvious. Recent research of over 500 CEOs and senior executives had these 3 actions at the top of the list:

CEO Action #1: Focus for Performance
Focus on the leadership behaviours that will be most important for better performance.

CEO Action #2: Consistent use of leadership model
Use the same leadership model across the organisation. Use different models in different countries or divisions creates confusion and competition, not clarity.

CEO Action #3: Systematically push to implement behavoiurs
Use a system that pushes leaders to use the behaviours they have learn.

You can easily audit your leadership development initiatives by asking yourself the questions that flow logically from these three insights. To kick-start your audit:

  1. What are the leadership behaviours we will need?
  2. To what extent do HR and the top executive team have a dialogue about the type of leaders they need?
  3. How are these behaviours visible in the organisation? How do we measure them?
  4. What is our leadership model? In what ways are we living, i.e. role-modelling, these behaviours – from the top executive team down?
  5. How else do we motivate leaders to use the appropriate behaviours?

We don’t arrive at the leadership model, competencies and behaviours by having HR guess what they are. It is an ongoing dialogue between the Board and the HR function, pulling on the insights and expertise that both parties have.

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Leading this product launch has taught me to be effective doing what I find naturally easiest – using trust and supporting people each step of the way. It augments my chances of making sure future product launches are as successful as this one.

MN Vice Director - Medical Marketing Europe

This process allowed people to re-appraise how this [senior team of managers] group was functioning or, rather, not functioning correctly. The tendency for each member of our group to see himself as an isolated beacon of excellence – which acted against the vital need for cooperation between members – were eased and communication is already becoming more 'normalised'.

RS Senior Director

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