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Linking Leadership Effectiveness to Your Business Strategy

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We’ve all done it: Sat through a required course in high school or college and quickly forgotten what we learned.

Too often the same thing happens with leadership training. The course may be interesting — even inspiring — but have little impact on our behavior or effectiveness when we return to work.

Even the best organizations struggle with this problem. Well-designed leadership development experiences get high end-of-program evaluations, but fail to produce changes in individual or organizational performance. Why is this?

Simply put, individual learning doesn’t often translate into organizational change. In order to behave differently, our research shows that leaders need support from their immediate superior to put to use what they have learned. Moreover, to impact organizational performance, both the individual leader and organization need to change.


How Work Gets Done

“Organizational performance is tied to how work gets done; if we don’t change the way work gets done, we will get the same results we have always gotten, regardless of how effective the individual leader might be,” explains William Pasmore, a CCL senior vice president and advisor to CEOs, boards, and senior teams.

“It’s a ‘both–and’ proposition; leaders must change how they lead, and the organization must change its work processes,” Pasmore adds. “To reap the full value of leadership development, someone has to be thinking about engaging the entire system, not just sending people away to learn.”

What’s the best way to increase organizational effectiveness?

Create a leadership strategy that helps leaders learn how to execute business priorities.

Then you’ll be in a better position to design leadership development experiences with the right content and methods to really move the needle on performance. 

Getting Back to Business

“Everyone understands the need for a well-defined business strategy, but few organizations have taken the time to develop a leadership strategy,” says Pasmore, who authored the white paper Developing a Leadership Strategy: A Critical Ingredient for Organizational Success. “When organizations define the competencies and behaviors needed from their leadership team, they have a much greater chance of achieving their goals.”

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