Leadership Strategy

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A White Paper

Developing a Leadership Strategy

A Critical Ingredient for Organizational Success

By William Pasmore, Ph.D.

Issued May 2009 / Rev. October 2011

CONTENTS

3 Introduction

4 What is a Leadership Strategy?

8 Creating the Leadership Strategy

19. Creating the Leadership Development Strategy

23. Implications for Talent Acquisition, Talent Sustainability and Leadership Practices

26. Getting Results and Building the Talent Your Organization Needs

27. Conclusion

27 References

prepare for a more uncertain future.

Introduction

Organizations depend upon capable leadership to guide them through unprecedented changes. Yet, there is ample evidence in the news and in recent research reports that even some of the best and most venerable organizations are failing to adapt to change, implement their strategic plans successfully or

We believe the turmoil we are currently observing has something to

do with leadership, and that if we don’t change our current approach to leadership development, we will see even more of the same.

As well-known companies disappear or are taken over (think of Lucent, Chrysler, Lehman Brothers, Northern Rock, Merrill Lynch) and new forces like the economies of China and India rise, surveys of CEOs show that they believe the one factor that will determine their fate is the quality of their leadership talent. Yet many top executives bemoan the lack of leadership bench strength in their companies and wonder what will hap-pen once the baby-boomer generation of leaders finally steps aside. Can we count on the next generation of lead-ers to step up once they are in position? Or are we seeing evidence of a talent gap that cannot be closed and will result in even greater numbers of high-profile failures? What can your organization do to avoid the risks associat-ed with inadequate leadership and better prepare its current and future leaders for changes that are yet unfore-seen?

Every leader is aware of the value of a well-defined business strategy. Few, however, give thought to the leader-ship that will be required to implement strategies that call for changes in the direction or capabilities of the organ-ization. Without proper leadership, even the best and boldest strategies die on the vine, their potential never real-ized. This paper defines what a leadership strategy is and how to go about creating one for your organization that will forever change the way you develop leaders and create new leadership capabilities.

3

What is a Leadership Strategy?

In order to understand what a leadership strategy is, we first have to be clear about what we mean by leader-ship. The Center for Creative Leadership has been studying leaders and leadership for nearly 40 years and has recently come to an important conclusion: leadership begins with individuals in leadership positions, but it does-n’t end there1. The ability of an organization to accomplish its goals does not depend solely on the force of will of a single great leader, or even upon the effectiveness of the organization’s chain of command. These things are important, but don’t in and of themselves help us understand why some organizations succeed where others fail.

Instead, research has shown, we must understand leadership culture, as defined by the collective actions of formal and informal leaders acting together to influence organizational success. It is not simply the number or quality of individual leaders that determines organizational success, but the ability of formal and informal leaders to pull together in the support of organizational goals that ultimately makes the difference. Thus, when we speak...
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