What Companies Can Do to Strengthen Their Leadership Pipelines

The word leadership

The importance of strong leadership within an organization becomes evident when you look at the impact it has on employee engagement and improved company culture. With companies facing a looming shortage of leaders due to a retirement boom, most are tuned into the increasing need for effective leadership development strategies to drive results, yet a majority of companies still are not making any progress in strengthening their leadership pipelines, especially in their ability to develop Millennial leaders.

The Latest Leadership Development Findings

The Brandon Hall Group just concluded their 2015 State of Leadership Development Study in April, and their findings showed that among the 242 organizations who participated in the study, only 36 percent said their organization had a core of leadership practices that was above average or exceptional. In part, this is positive news, considering that 2013’s survey indicated only 25 percent were identified as having a strong formal leadership development strategy.

Still, that leaves a gap of 64 percent of organizations that are left with ineffective leadership development programs, even though other Brandon Hall Group survey results indicate that organizations ranked Leadership Development (LD) as their second most important issue toward which they would be devoting significant time, energy, and resources.

Why the Gap?

If companies are aware of the urgent need for leadership, why do the majority still lack the implementation of an effective program? The answer to that is complex and derived from research which is detailed in Deloitte’s 2015 Global Human Capital Trends report. The main causes of the gap include:

  1. Programs are in place for only a select few employees

    Less than 50 percent of executives have available training, and just 6 percent of survey respondents report they have “excellent” programs in place to develop Millennials.

  2. Failure to make long-term investments in leadership

    Even though leadership development spending increases every year, many organizations settle for off-the-shelf short-term training that is funded one year but not the next, instead of opting for a strategic long-term and ongoing investment, through good times and bad. The Deloitte research indicates that organizations that are identified as high performing spend 1.5 to 2 times more on leadership than other similarly competitive organizations.

  3. Neglecting to build a robust leadership pipeline at all levels

    When organizations fail to look at leadership development as an ongoing strategy and neglect to offer development opportunities to existing and emerging leaders, the pipeline grows weak and eventually fails to produce strong leadership required to meet an organization’s needs.

Much of the gap, then, appears to be caused by a lack of a customized ongoing leadership development series that is offered to both existing and emerging leaders, identifies specific obstacles to growth, and addresses key skills needed to overcome those obstacles. Zoe Training and Consulting offers a comprehensive Leadership Excellence series which can be customized based on specific identified development needs within the client organization. The series can be delivered for both emerging and existing leaders to ensure a talent pipeline at all levels.