A recent global survey about corporate leadership development programs  reports a shift in the best corporate leadership development approaches revealing that the current trend is towards customization and personalization. In the world of customizing cars, sneakers, and ring tones people expect to have their jobs designed to fit their career goals. Which, in other words, means that one size fits one.
Needless to say, the benefits of a successfully implemented corporate leadership development program are numerous. Just to name a few:
- Attraction and retention of talent
- Increased productivity and profitability
- Increased organizational agility
- Improved management communication and alignment
This study revealed that 53% of the leaders around the world are struggling with accelerating leadership development, 43% with retention of top talent and 36% with engaging and motivating top talent.
Corporate Leadership Development: What are successful companies doing?
The top three strategies respondents are using to address corporate leadership development are:
- Growing talent internally by identifying high performing leaders (78%)
- Providing experiential learning opportunities (action learning) (62%)
- Providing coaching, mentoring, job shadowing and rotational programs (55%)
Great benefits of Action Learning
Lately, I had the chance to see first hand how effective the action learning approach can be. As part of the Red Shoe Movement we have an Ambassador School (an offsite action learning program) where a group of volunteer high potential young women get together to prepare a Signature Event.
During this time, the group meets biweekly to decide every detail of the event and receive hands-on training on: event planning and execution, logistics, communication style, group facilitation, negotiation, and professional appearance. They become each other’s best supporters and cheerleaders, a tight group of women who grow into their own style of leadership. Each one gets multiple opportunities to sharpen their leadership skills by being put in charge of various parts of the process.
As a result, every one of the women experienced unprecedented engagement in their jobs and careers: From promotions, to changes in career tracks, to heightened participation in issues affecting their organization’s bottom line, and so on.
Our first group of Ambassadors, not only executed a flawless event at The New York Times (where 230 professional women got together to discuss topics of their interest,) but they decided to stay involved and move on to the next level of responsibility. Each one of the original Ambassadors is now leading her own Signature Event and coaching their own teams of Ambassadors who just came onboard.
The greater passion they show for their 9:00-5:00 jobs and the heightened sense of career ownership is a function of:
- Having had a chance to discover what is important to them
- Having been given the opportunity to take risks in a safe environment
- Having been part of a group of supportive women who encouraged them to share and try new ideas
- Having received positive validation and recognition for their contributions
Whether onsite or off-site, action programs can be what you need to set your female employees on fire. You should try this at home. The effects will surprise you!
 Strategic Leadership Development-Global Trends and Approaches, June 2013, by Right Management and The Conference Board. (The sample included 654 respondents, a comprehensive literature review and case studies based on interviews with senior leadership development professionals.)