Leadership development: Preparing for what’s next

August 15, 2018 by Wally Bock

Leadership development is one of those parts of life and business that are never done. You’ll never be fully prepared for that next job. That’s why I was intrigued when I read the HBR article: “Survey: 68% of CEOs Admit They Weren’t Fully Prepared for the Job.

Kati Najipoor-Schutte and Dick Patton, co-leaders of the CEO practice at Egon Zehnder surveyed 411 CEOs from big companies in several countries. I don’t know what specific questions they asked, but I do know that no one is every “fully prepared” for a job like CEO, or even the next move up.

Human nature’s to blame on this one. Every job looks easier when someone else is doing it. So, every promotion demands a period of adaptation that we call “transition.” The real question isn’t “Am I ready for the job?” The better question is: “Am I ready for the transition?”

Leadership development is always about the next job

When we help leaders prepare for their next challenge, we concentrate on the knowledge, skills and abilities they’ll need. We can provide the programs, coaches, and developmental assignments. The leaders must bring their own passion for learning. We can help them develop skills, but they must want to learn and grow. Najipoor-Schutte and Patton nail that when they say:

“Underscore in succession planning, executive training programs, and elsewhere that success comes from adopting a mindset of constant personal growth. Particularly in this environment of rapid change, CEOs should understand that they must embrace curiosity, learning, and adaptability.”

Leadership development and the most important skillset

The most important thing an aspiring leader should learn early is how to learn and how to wring maximum value from their experience. Those are the most important skills for every leadership transition, including the one to CEO. You can only be “fully prepared” for any new role if you have mastered the disciplines of learning

Wally Bock is a coach, a writer and President of Three Star Leadership.

Posted in Leadership Development

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