Leadership development and that seat at the table

October 14, 2015 by Wally Bock

Is leadership development important or not?

I think that leadership development is one of the most important things a company can do. Lots of companies say they think it’s important, but not that important. For many top executives, leadership development is important to wail about, but not important enough to spend time on. It’s not important enough to sit at the executive table with “real” business functions like finance.

Leadership development should be strategic

Some people think that should change. John Slater wrote an article on Blanchard LeaderChat with the title: “Want L&D to Have a Seat at the Executive Table? 5 Steps to Get You There.” Here’s a key quote.

“To earn a place at the executive table, L&D professionals must be agile and adaptive to drive performance—and they must stay relevant to the wider business.”

In other words, leadership development should help the company achieve its objectives. They have to prove themselves. But that’s not the entire story.

Leadership development must be perceived as strategic.

An article in Chief Executive quotes John Stacey, chief HR officer for Harman International suggesting that CEOs should form a partnership with their Chief HR Officer. That will work only if the CEO sees leadership development as important. Those CEOs devote time and attention and budget to leadership development. And, because they think it’s important, they’re likely to think that a close working relationship with the CHRO makes sense, too.

Leadership development has to earn a place at the table, but performance alone won’t do the trick. Someone (maybe you) has to convince the CEO how important leadership development is.

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

Posted in Leadership Development

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