Strategic Leadership Development—The Time is NOW!


Dialogic OD: The next step in the evolution of organizational change theories

Strategic Leadership Development—The Time is NOW!

Companies are feeling the leadership shortage—baby boomers are retiring, Gen-Xers are only ½ of the baby boomer population and most millennials are not ready to take on formal leadership roles at the executive level.  Leadership Development is not just nice to have but rather is a necessity to ensure that organizations have enough qualified leaders in the pipeline.

Not to say that organizations aren’t providing leadership development, but the major criticism for many companies is that development is ad hoc, without a clear alignment to the strategic goals of the organization and the cultural behaviors necessary to compete in today’s VUCA world.  The time is NOW to reassess your Leadership Development efforts!

The best organizations take time to design a leadership development strategy that aligns leadership development to the business strategy.

Effective leadership development objectives include:

  • Define leadership development within the unique context of the organization, its culture and mission
  • Identify the organization’s leadership development needs and match the solution to the need
  • Create an effective leadership development program that helps individuals learn about themselves and others, and grow in their interpersonal leadership skills

Ultimately, leadership development activities are designed to ensure that individual leaders and the collective leadership of the organization are prepared to implement the most important strategies related to the key drivers.

One of the first activities is to develop your Leadership Strategy.  The first step is identifying the company’s business drivers—the forces that shape an organization’s business strategy.  By having a clear understanding of your drivers, you can begin to identify the leadership strategy implications needed to support the key business drivers.  For example, if a key driver for your organization was to be “Global” then you would assess population, location, skills, and competencies of the current state of leaders.   You would also determine what the future state should look like in terms of requirements for how many, geographic locations, education, experience, capabilities, skills and competencies, etc.

Developing the Leadership Strategy is typically a process involving the senior leader team and a steering committee to provide oversight.  The process of creating a leadership strategy produces useful conversations.  These conversations may act as interventions that begin shifting beliefs and values concerning executive talent issues in the organization.

There are a variety of strategic planning methods that can help.  One way, called the “future perfect” method, involves “projecting” oneself into the future and imagining what the leadership culture would be like if the organization were fully implementing its business strategy and operating as effectively as possible.

Using the defined Leadership Strategy, the Leadership Development Strategy is formulated to support your leadership strategy. This strategy should specify the actions that must be taken to retain, develop or acquire the leaders and the leadership skills required by the business strategy.

Some of the topics to include are onboarding, individual and organizational assessments, individual development plans, required learning experiences, work assignments, coaching, feedback, team based relationship building, leadership engagement in talent development, and employee engagement activities.  This is by no means a complete list.  The next step would be to drill down and define what these would be for your unique organization and culture.  Because the new Leadership Development Strategy can have many implications for current Talent Management processes, these processes must be assessed and re-engineered to align with the new Leadership Development Strategy.

The end goal is for the organization to successfully implement its business strategy and achieve results.  While there can be varying levels of success, with a strategic Leadership Development approach, one can more easily assess where the problems are and be better positioned to make adjustments.  The good news is that by making the commitment to develop a Leadership Strategy, the odds are in favor of achievement.  Go for it!

Author:  Patricia Dammann


Developing a Leadership Strategy:  A Critical Ingredient for Organizational Success, Center for Creative Leadership, William Pasmore, Ph.D.

Institute of Organization Development (IOD) offers state of the art online Leadership Development Certification Programs (LDCP) to help participants develop effective leadership development strategies to grow and develop leaders while advancing their career as a Leadership Development Professional. This program provides participants with the tools and skills needed to guide senior leaders to design and implement a best practice Leadership Development Program.  After completing the program, you will gain a certification as a Leadership Development Professional and earn the distinction of LDCP.

The Leadership Development Certification Program (LDCP) is offered online over 8 months, 3 hours per month to advance your career in Leadership Development.  Each session is delivered through Go-to-training.  Our expert faculty provide interactive discussions, examples, tools, guidelines, and resources to enrich your learning.



“This certification program provided me with the resources and tools I needed to implement an effective Leadership Development Strategy when working with executives during a coaching engagement.”


“The practical experience I learned during this program gave me the confidence to work with executives to create an aligned Leadership Development


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