I read an article the other day entitled “Why leadership-development programs fail” on the Mckinsey & Company website. As a leader and consultant to leaders, I was intrigued to read about this topic. One of the traits for being a good leader is never stop reading and never stop learning.
I found the article interesting with some valid points. The numbers reported in the article seem to support the great push for leadership development. I definitely agree that leadership development is failing in businesses. We seem to be in short supply of quality leaders in companies and organizations. However, I think the authors missed one major underlying cause of the leadership problem: Not development, but communication.
While reading the article, if one compares the “unsuccessful” and “successful” examples of leadership development, communication seemed to be lacking in the “unsuccessful” situations. The “successful” situations appear to have some sort of objective, project or vision clearly communicated either from or to leadership.
In my personal experience when coaching and assisting leaders, I ask them if their team knows what the vision is for the future of the company. I then ask if their leadership team knows how they contribute to meeting that vision. The second question may be more important than the first. If leaders don’t know how they contribute or what their objectives are to meet the vision, they don’t understand the vision. Clearly communicated goals, objectives and vision for the organization from any leadership position cannot be repeated or emphasized enough. Clear direction (vision) and an understanding of how to get there (objectives) are the first step to any successful leader and leadership team. Simple, I know, yet rarely executed with consistency very well.
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Steve DiIoia, Insyte Consultant
Steve is a SixSigma Master Black Belt, having trained at Motorola where Six Sigma was invented. He has over 18 years experience leading project teams in continuous process improvement, lean manufacturing and quality management systems in manufacturing companies. Steve holds numerous certifications, including Gestalt Professional Certified Coach from the Gestalt Institute of Cleveland, Professional Business Advisor from MEPU, and Quality Technician from the American Society of Quality. To learn more click here.