Develop new leaders in time for the baby boomer tsunami
86% of companies surveyed by Deloitte University Press say the need is urgent to develop new leaders. Only 13% of organizations say they do an excellent job developing leaders at all levels. The Global Leadership Forecast reported that 85% of executives are not confident in their leadership pipelines.
Perhaps organizations have been asking the question: How many people in our organization will we train to be leaders this year? When a better question might be, how many leaders do we need to train this year?
The number of leadership positions that need to be filled as the baby boomers and silver generation retire in the next 10 years, can not be filled by Gen Xers. There’s not enough of them to fill those vacant positions. It’s estimated that 24 million new jobs will be created by 2020 as a result of baby boomers retiring. The Director for Georgetown’s Center on Education and the Workforce, Anthony P. Carnevale says, “The cognitive skills that will be most in demand for the jobs available in 2020 are leadership, communication, analytics and administration,” Also important research from Gallup discovered that 50% of the workers who had left organizations did so because of their manager. We’re going to need to train a ton of new leaders and the ones we have may not have the skills necessary to retain them.
It is clear that succession planning through leadership and employee development, at every level of organizations, is an imperative. To be prepared, we need to consider that the previous models for training and development are not adequate for the tsunami that is ahead of us.
The old model for training and development was an event. Each year, a select group of leaders from an organization were sent away in hope that they would come back to their teams and inspire and coach their team member’s to be more engaged and productive in order to reach the corporate goals that the leader wanted to meet. The training was expensive, which was why only a small number from the organization could go, and the programs took the leader away to a fantasy island where the lessons were set in a perfect scenario that was supposed to result in their team easily embracing the new lessons the leader had learned. If the leadership teams went as a group, their team members often felt like their boss, and his/her peers had learned a new and special “language” that was hard to understand and was never fully explained or understood by them. There was a separateness that was created that led to a “them vs us” mentality and resentment sometimes was felt towards the leaders.
Even worse was the idea that the leaders being trained separately from their teams somehow had the skill of facilitation in order to “cascade” what they learned to each team member. This was supposed to happen in a seamless way with no continuing, or meaningful, support from the programs that trained the leaders. If support was given, it was usually done in an impersonal way through digital files or for those with a sizeable enough budget, one-on-one coaching.
The old system of leadership training was not designed for today’s rapidly changing workplace that requires practical instruction for immediate challenges that face leaders and their teams daily. Leaders must demonstrate agility and so should the sources that help train them.
For organizations to be competitive in attracting today’s workforce, they need to adopt a methodology of continuous development for their leaders with the teams they serve.
Today, succession planning can be “baked into” the training.
In the new model training is not one event, but instead, it is a series of group experiences that continual development and support leaders. By conducting the training this way, there is no loss of investment if a leader or one person on the team leaves, because the development is cascading to all members of the team. By doing this, you are developing your leaders of tomorrow while supporting the ones you have today. Through short, scheduled group sessions, teams, and their leaders learn to listen for understanding, have the difficult or sweaty conversations (as we call them) most people avoid that leads to their ability to work through and past the toughest challenges.
The only way to make leadership development and skill building of your highest potentials affordable is to make it an imperative. It must be something that the current leadership in the organization believes to be one of its highest priorities. Saying it is “urgent and important” yet placing it in the “important but not urgent” quadrant will not create solutions that net results for your culture that reflect positively through your brand. When something is urgent and important it gets done. Creative solutions are found to solve it. The best minds in the company come together to collaborate on ideas and how to implement them. The solutions that are created are committed to and executed from the very top – they are not pushed up. When something is urgent and important it gets done and everyone sees the effect on the organization if it doesn’t.
Where do you start if you know you need to train your leaders?
- Determine if your commitment to developing your future leaders and to your succession plan will be in the urgent and important category in 2018. It’s fine if it isn’t, just please don’t say it is when it is not. Your mangers will notice the misalignment and more harm than good will come from it.
To identify whether it truly is in the “urgent and important” category take a look at the budget you have set for it and the time you have made to create a vision, brainstorm ideas, develop a plan, and execute it. If you haven’t set money and time aside for these things, it’s either not in the urgent and important category now or you are throwing spaghetti at the wall and expecting it to stick.
- Discover the answer to these questions:
- How many leaders do we need to have trained in 2018 and why to ensure we are ready for our changing workforce in 2019, 2020 and beyond?
- What are the leadership competencies they need to be trained in?
- How will we determine which competencies individual leaders are weak in?
- What are the best ways to be sure any training those leaders receive will be practiced?
- What are some of the modern methods of training that we can use that will have an immediate effect on the productivity of the leaders and their teams?
- How will we make performance development a continuous practice for our leaders and the teams they serve?
- How dated are the models we are using to train our contemporary workforce?
- What will success look like from the training that we are going to do?
- What type of support will be necessary, after the training, to ensure that it sticks?
- How will we measure the success of the training?
- Can the training stick without our (meaning the top tier leadership group) participation in it?
- Would it be most effective to train the leaders with their teams or have them trained separately?
- Does the brand image of the products or services we offer support the type of culture we are building within our leadership teams?
- Would you recommend to your best friend, if they are qualified, that they come to work for your company or organization?
Make the time to consider these questions and have the sweaty conversations necessary to answer them this week, rather than next. Before the end of this year, instead of next. In 2018 instead of 2019. Your biggest competitors are doing this type of hard work that will lead to changing their corporate culture’s brand in order to reach prosperous outcomes.
Cortex is working with organizations, right now, to ensure their profitable outcomes for 2018. We’d like to work with you.