Are You A Leader Or A Laggard?

December 4, 2013 — Leave a comment

The truth is, you have a choice to make. We are all experiencing an extensive lag that will impact each and every one of our careers and will result in very serious consequences to every one of us – this is nothing new.  You are increasingly expected to do far more, with far less, in a much shorter amount of time. The question becomes, what are you going to do about it? How are you going to equip yourself to successfully keep up and accomplish the Herculean tasks that are expected of you?


The answer – You are going to develop yourself! Leadership Development is not just a catch phrase anymore – It is a necessity if you are to be a productive, effective agent of innovation and growth… if you are to survive and prosper in this ever-changing, autobahn we call the global marketplace. As such, it is time you took it very seriously and, as a leader, moved your own development to the forefront of your priorities.

The good news – You are not the only one feeling the pressure: Leadership Development was recognized as one of the top challenges for organizations globally, according to The 2012 CEO Challenge Report. With talent constraints in the external market, CEOs around the world are focused on growing talent through leadership development programs like never before.

The not so good news – According to a recent McKinsey survey of senior executives, 76% believe their organizations need to develop global-leadership capabilities, but only 7% think they are currently doing so effectively. Some 30% of these openly admit that they have failed to exploit their international business opportunities because of insufficient internationally competent personnel. Right in line with McKinsey’s findings, Harvard Business Publishing’s 2013 global survey of executives in prominent organizations reveals a striking deficit in leadership talent. Only 32% of the respondents believe that their organizations have the right leadership talent and skills to achieve their strategic goals. Just 31% are confident their leaders have the right leadership skills to cope with the current business environment.

It becomes very clear, very fast that organizations’, on a global basis, are not confident in their leaders’ ability to get the job done to any reasonable standard.  However, this is not a one-sided debate. The reality is that you, as a leader, are expected to do far more, with far less, in a much more complex environment than ever before. While companies may be failing to develop the creative leadership development programs that will result in sustained learning and behavioral change, the reality is you are responsible for your own development!

Although there is recent research to suggest that many employers spend generously on growing future leaders, the same research also indicates they do not do so in a coherent, or strategic, way. A couple of significant points strike me:

1) Company’s seem to be focused more on throwing money at training than investing in development, failing to align their strategic requirements and then wondering why they do not harvest the anticipated results. There is a distinct difference between training and development and you must make sure you are focused on development.

2) There seems to be an emphasis on growing future leaders instead of developing lifelong learning throughout the organization. This limits senior leaders ability to continue to grow and develop throughout their career, thus minimizing potential contributions over time and diminishing the value chain of the organization.

In line with this sentiment, I consistently hear from  global executives that training and development efforts aren’t typically aligned to the organization’s specific business objectives and that they, as leaders, are no longer focused on their own growth and development, but instead focus their efforts on developing emerging leaders. For most organizations, there seems to be a distinct lack of cohesiveness in aligning continual leadership development and business strategies.

In DDI’s most recent Global Leadership Forecast, only 38% of the leaders reported the quality of leadership in their organizations as very good or excellent. Worse, only 18% of the respondents reported a strong bench to meet future business needs. With dismal statistics like this continuing to flood the marketplace, all indicators strongly point in the direction of strategic leadership development being the critical path to success. As such, for the next several weeks, we will explore the current challenges and deficiencies in Leadership and the role it plays in Leadership Development in the following areas:

  • The Chasm: Business & Education
  • The Coaching Paradigm
  • Effective Mentoring
  • Networking Is Not Nonsense
  • Building A Lasting Legacy
  • The Criticality Of Cultural Integration
  • CSR As Competitive Advantage

We can all agree that as business leaders, our commitment is no longer an option, but a crucial component to our own success. Supporting and lobbying for the development of critical leadership competencies produces real business results – innovation and growth within the business, more effective work cultures, better service, efficient operations, improved sales, increased profits, … just to name a few of the many impacts successful leadership development brings to the company and the global economy. But how we, as leaders, look at and leverage those opportunities can make all the difference.

As global leaders, we have more challenges than most in rising to the top in complex business environments.  However, those of us who choose to overcome the roadblocks and help our companies to build diverse global leadership development programs, as well as continue to develop ourselves, will stand the best chance of maximizing returns on our leadership development investments and making a real difference.

Are You A Leader Or A Laggard In Your Organization?

Please engage the discussion and let us know strategies you employ to help develop leaders instead of laggards in your organization. Feel free to contact me at or stopping by our website at


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Sheri is The Global Coach, founder of Luminosity Global Consulting Group, Global Executive Coach, Speaker, Writer and Global Business and Cultural Expert.

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