You can get a summary of the study from Hewitt (conducted with Fortune magazine and the RBL Group) here. In the meantime, I thought I’d share some high level conclusions from the research along with a bit of commentary.
The research says that there are Four Disciplines that the top companies for leaders follow:
Leaders lead the way – One of my favorite leadership maxims is that presence begets presence. That’s certainly the case in the best companies for leaders. 80% of CEO’s in the top companies spend more than 20% of their time on leadership issues. That compares with 34% of CEO’s in other North American companies. Lockheed’s Danielle checked on how many times over the past year and a half her CEO spoke to different leadership development sessions held at the company. The answer was over 90 times with an average length of 1 to 1.5 hours per event.
Unrelenting focus on talent – The top companies for leaders take an integrated approach to building leaders and rely on six principles (which I noted are incorporated into our Next Level Leadership™ group coaching program) to accelerate development:
- Challenge – Create opportunities to stretch leaders’ comfort zones.
- Ongoing Support – Leaders get coaching and mentoring as they try new techniques.
- Exposure – to other leaders inside and outside the organization boosts learning.
- Network – Having a support group of colleagues facing the same experiences is key.
- Action Learning – It’s important to immediately apply new techniques to real life opportunities.
- Structured Feedback – Feedback is most valuable when it’s followed by an action plan of a few specific areas to work on.
Leadership becomes a way of life – This, for me, was one of the most important points. As the report says, when leadership is a way of life in an organization there’s a rhythm to it. It’s not a series of initiatives. It permeates the culture of the organization and is reinforced through metrics, rewards and strategic planning.
When you think about your own development as a leader, what experience has made the biggest difference to you? What do you think separates the organizations that “get it” on building leaders from those that don’t?