GeneralHr Library

A Perspective on Leadership Readiness

Source | DDI World : By Chuck Cosentino

Living on the Fault Line

The pressure is mounting on HR leaders and their teams to do more with less, demonstrate ROI, and keep pace with a rapidly changing business landscape. Now, it is more critical than ever for them to plan and execute leadership programs and initiatives that have a positive impact on their organization and its leaders.

Over the past 35 years, I’ve had the good fortune to work with many outstanding leaders in major multinational companies and alongside many exceptional colleagues. They have asked me to reflect on my most significant learnings and experiences related to leadership readiness. The result is an approach that stakeholders and users have found most valuable in yielding positive results for leaders and their organizations. Additionally, the value of these approaches has been proven through client testimonials, program evaluation studies, and research.

7 Best Practices for Leadership Readiness

This guidebook will show you how to avoid the dangers that HR leaders fall victim to, and deliver substantial value for your organization, leaders, and culture.

Sharing what to do is as important as knowing what not to do. I refer to the latter as dangers that lead to failure and should be avoided. They are dangerous because they are approaches that have positive impact in many situations yet in other situations they have negative impact which is often not initially apparent or anticipated. They appear face valid and their negative impact is not anticipated, which are the very things that make them dangerous. Here is an example: For individuals and organizations, applying what worked in the past in certain situations often leads to positive results. Yet in times of substantial changes in responsibilities, relying on past behaviors and actions may not be effective. In the world of leadership capability-building I discuss where I believe these dangers lie and approaches that HR senior leaders and their teams have used to avoid dangers and thereby yield substantial value for their organizations, leaders, and culture.

Don’t look back. Be future-oriented and align with the business landscape.

No business can survive without a focus on the future—the same is true for HR. The business landscape is rapidly changing and evolving due to factors such as technology advances, the rise of social media, globalization, new competitors with different and compelling value propositions, and changes in workforce demographics and values (e.g., retiring baby boomers and the growing impact of millennials). This new business landscape has substantially changed the blueprint for leadership success and reshaped leadership programs, both in terms of content and the increased use of more technology-enabled delivery strategies.

In today’s “VUCA” (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity) world, the array of leadership skills and behaviors that enable leaders across levels to be successful is substantially different than it was in the past. The challenges that accompany the VUCA environment have made it more difficult for leaders to identify critically needed changes in direction, strategy, and tactics. The methods and techniques they use to gain these insights have changed, too. Given an increasingly mobile and networked workforce, the skills needed to keep employees engaged and confident in the organization’s future success are different than those required in the past—and increasingly important.

Over time, HR’s role has moved from gatekeeper to change agent. HR must be aware of the business landscape, including the necessities of both global consistency and the need to adapt to local culture. This altered landscape affects the leadership blueprint for success as well as what is designed and/or purchased, and how it is delivered. Being aware of new requirements and approaches is not enough, however. HR also needs to be able to carefully evaluate the utility and impact of new approaches, as approaches that are cheaper and faster are not always better. Often, making solutions easier to access yields much better results than using low-cost solutions that negatively affect quality of results.

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