Archive for the “Thoughts on Work” Category

I participated in this research. It was alot of fun. I sat in on a few of the interviews with the companies themselves. I helped write up some of the summaries that the judges panel used to select the top companies. I got to sit in on a few of the internal meetings with the talent consultants where they talked about the findings/areas of interest in this year’s research vs past year’s.

I was amazed at how much some companies do to develop their employees. Of course, there is a lot of self interest involved there, since they aren’t really doing it for the employee’s benefit, but that’s fine…both parties are getting something out of it.

It also struck me that a lot of companies have the same programs and practices around developing leaders, yet the way it plays out is far different. Its like someone saying “Exercise is one of my top 3 priorities”. That may mean 1) its a top priority (as is winning the lottery), but you don’t do anything with it, 2) I exercise a few times a week, am fit, and put fitness below loved ones and work in my list of priorities (which means its up there, but not really all that much compared to the other two) or 3) I spend a significant amount of time (25% to 35%) on this priority and I bring it to the table as an important topic in all discussions.

Almost all the companies that participated in the study answered that Leadership was one of their top priorities, but very few of the companies actually spent alot of time on it (from senior leaders down to line employees), linked leadership development to measurable goals/financial incentives, and brought it to the table daily as an important topic.

Lots of companies have Leadership Development Programs (LDPs…so many companies have them that there is an acronym for it). A) Some just send some employees to a classroom for a week or a day to listen to current thinking on leadership. B) Some have senior leaders lead those discussions (which is more effective). C) Others (the best) have senior leaders bring real business issues to a hand-picked group of high potential employees. Those employees, with the senior leader business sponsor facilitating, are given time and company resources to map out a solution to the issues. They then implement it, write up a case study, and share results. The LDP has an alumni group ongoing that keeps in touch and provides support to current participants and each other.

Option C takes a lot of time and effort. The company I work for (which did the research) is probably somewhere between <non-existent> and <Option A> on the leadership continuum. As they say, “Those who cannot do, teach (or in this case: consult).”.


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