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How to Design Leadership Development for Immediate Gains
Leadership development is generally seen as a long-term investment, but this doesn’t have to be the case. It can deliver short-term business performance improvements.
Most management and leadership training programs focus on helping participants gain new insights, skills and tools that they can use to become more effective managers and leaders. Conventional wisdom suggests that leadership development is a long-term investment that eventually yields dividends in terms of improved business performance. But this pay-now, gain-later dynamic leaves leadership development programs vulnerable to budget cuts.
This doesn’t have to be the case. Leadership development programs can be designed with a fundamentally different premise in mind — the pursuit of short-term business performance improvements. When companies do this, they gain two benefits: better business performance and leaders who can execute more effectively. This changes the economics of leadership development programs; it can transform leadership development from a cost to a profit center in the annual budget. Here’s how Ascom, a global Swiss-based communications company, took steps toward doing so.
Results in 100 Days
Adrian Jakobsson, research and development manager at Ascom, is part of an internationally diverse group of 16 high-potential managers going through an innovative leadership development program. These candidates were drawn from a high-potential pool of managers targeted for further advancement in the company. Each program participant takes on the challenge of shaping and leading a project that aims at making significant progress in 100 days in a strategically critical area assigned to him or her by an executive sponsor — typically someone at the C-suite level. Each of these projects is referred to as a “rapid results initiative.” The program is in its third year.
Jakobsson’s project involved developing a new software package for enhancing mobile phones, and negotiating and closing deals with partners and customers. “My aim was to learn about leading cross-functional teams,” Jakobsson said. “The structure of the program gave me a roadmap and cadence to fall back on. People were so focused on achieving the nearly impossible goal that they put aside the usual bickering about turf and protocol.”
The Next Generation of HR: What’s Wrong? What’s Right?
May 23rd 1:00pm - 2:00pm CT
2013 CLO Breakfast Club, Boston
September 12th - 12th, 2013The Westin Copley Place
Fall 2013 CLO Symposium
September 30th - October 2nd, 2013Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa
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