Leadership development and the Long Game

January 30, 2019 by Wally Bock

Leadership development and shade trees have much in common. Both take a long time to deliver their benefits. And the person who starts the process probably won’t be around to enjoy those benefits.

Leadership Development Excellence

A leader’s career lasts decades. That’s one reason we must build great programs to last. Great programs have two things in common.

In great programs, we expect leaders to develop leaders. Developing leaders is a routine part of the job. And, it’s an important part of how we measure a leader’s performance.

In great programs, leadership development is part of the cadence of the organization. The meetings and reviews and processes are as inevitable as nature.

Leadership Development: It’s Hard to Keep Good Going

When you start a new leadership development program, there’s always a flurry of excitement.  Energy and enthusiasm are high at the beginning. But energy and enthusiasm aren’t enough to sustain a program.

Great programs last because they do mundane activities over and over with unremitting diligence. None of those activities is hard. The hard part is doing them every day, every week, every month, every year, for decades.

That’s harder because you don’t see results for a while. Leadership development activities don’t seem urgent. It’s easy to make an exception, “just this quarter.” It’s hard to keep good going, because a great leadership program isn’t a big bang-pop-the-corks-and-blow-the-trumpets event. Think of it like going for a run every day, whether it’s rainy or cold, even when you don’t feel like it.

Leadership Development Is The Ultimate Long Game

If you want a great leadership development program at your company, you must make an extraordinary, continuous effort to drive leadership development into the midbrain of the culture. Then, you won’t have to think about it, because leadership development becomes “the way we do things around here.”

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

Posted in Leadership Development

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