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How to Build Leadership Capabilities for Successful Business Transformation

How does your organisation create value today amidst global competition and changing consumer demands? 

Are you identifying new ways to differentiate and compete? And how do you plan to unlock new opportunities to drive new growth? 

Most organisations are well on their way to developing strategies for achieving business transformation. But, in many cases, their ambitions are often undermined by a leadership deficit; they make the mistake of placing focus on the finish line and not freeing up leadership talent to drive the transformation.   

Effective leadership is critical to sustaining a success-driven business and has been proven to be a major differentiator for high-performance organisations.

The responsibility of making strategic decisions that determine where the business will grow, how it will operate, and the required performance levels, rests primarily on your organisation’s leadership. 

However, simply assigning leadership roles to employees doesn’t cut it. For organisations to achieve high-end business transformation, they must identify and develop the right leadership capabilities required to pursue new opportunities and gain competitive advantage. 

How do you develop these capabilities?  

In this article, we’ll explore the essential elements of designing a robust capability-building leadership development initiative. 

Top 4 Ways to Build Leadership Capabilities

  1. Identify the key leadership competencies 

Identifying the core competencies required to win and the organisational capabilities needed to deliver them is essential for your organisation’s current and future success.  

Start by highlighting your organisation’s short and long-term strategic goals, its current leadership state and the traits you want to see in your leaders, ensuring all are in sync with your strategic objectives. 

From here, you’re able to clearly establish the competencies required to effectively deliver your desired outcomes. This stage forms the foundation for any effective leadership development initiative. 

  1. Identify and Assess talent 

 To understand what your leadership development initiative should entail, you must first assess selected employees against proven critical leadership competencies, including the ones you identified in step one. This provides you with input for a holistic design based on your understanding of their key strengths and developmental needs. 

However, identifying potential leaders can be difficult for most organisations. In most cases, they are unsure of the measures to base their assessments – whether on previous performance, current performance, natural intelligence, drive or determination. 

In a bid to identify potential leadership talent for further development, we mustn’t confuse high performance with leadership potential. Whilst strong individual performance is a requirement for selection; it’s not on its own enough to justify selection.

For example, an ambitious, intelligent and goal-driven driven individual may lack the emotional intelligence needed for effective leadership. 

One of the best ways to screen for leadership is to make selections based on your participants’ desire and aptitude to grow as well as their ability to nurture a long-term vision and mobilise change through personal influence.  

There are several tools often employed to evaluate present employee performance against their potential capacity for future performance. Listed below are a number of tools to leverage: 

  • Talent Potential Nomination Tools   
  • Competent and experienced Assessors  

The results of these assessments will highlight competency gaps of identified employees.  Then, use these gaps to identify and design the most suitable developmental opportunities for the employee to close those gaps.   

  1. Design an effective developmental plan   

Today’s approach to leadership development demands more than formal training. Leaders mustn’t always be taught in a traditional classroom setting, where learning is absorbed passively. 

To ensure the organisation’s leadership gaps are effectively closed, classroom training must be reinforced with other learning opportunities that help leaders actually develop and demonstrate desired competencies.  

Think about how you can place your leaders into situations that will require them to learn and grow. Then employ trusted subject matter experts and consultants to develop the appropriate learning opportunities for them and put together a programme that emphasises a mix of these interventions: 

  • Coaching & mentoring: These are sessions that aim to develop the functional and behavioural capabilities while also providing guidance for specific challenges through one-on-one discussions. 
  • Stretch projects and rotational assignments: One of the best ways to develop leadership abilities is through the use of stretch projects. These are short-term projects that require your leaders to perform beyond their current expertise and employ new strategies to solve challenges.  
  • Simulations and serious games: Leadership simulation games provide a safe environment for your leaders to practice the competencies they are developing. They also instil a lasting sense of feedback analysis in leaders, allowing them to carefully analyse problems and decisions when the need arises. 
  1. Monitor and Measure effectiveness 

Measuring the effectiveness of your intervention is one of the most fundamental aspects of delivering an impactful leadership programme. Therefore, you must develop a plan for conducting periodic and in-depth assessments of your leaders to determine if the programme has achieved its intended objectives and expected outcomes. 

To determine whether the leaders are benefiting from the programme, here are five critical steps to take: 

  • Write down tangible outcomes with expected success indicators to be seen within a given timeframe. 
  • Create opportunities for getting open and honest feedback from your leaders. This helps you course-correct and ensure they feel the training is relevant and worthwhile. 
  • Decide on the criteria for measuring your leader’s effectiveness in line with their desired skills and the organisation’s goal. 
  • Schedule discussions at intervals to help keep your leaders accountable for their performance. 
  • Establish an appraisal and incentive system that evaluates and rewards performance. 

Building transformational leadership capabilities within an organisation doesn’t happen overnight. There are no quick fixes. It takes dedication, hard work and commitment. 

Organisations that commit to long-term developmental programmes to enhance leadership capabilities are those that ultimately deliver a higher level of business performance. With a robust approach to leadership development in place, they are better positioned to retain the best talent required to drive the business forward. 

To learn more about our leadership programs, visit Workforce learning to schedule a consultation today.

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