Palo Alto, Calif. — Sept. 19
While many organizations invest significant funds into developing their senior leaders, new research uncovers that only a small proportion of the activities are likely to drive meaningful results. The implications are significant, as executives don’t currently have a way to discern which of the many available development options are actually wise investments — and thus might be increased — and which don’t have the impact that warrants their continuation. Common development activities, such as executive coaching and the use of job rotations to broaden a leader’s exposure and experience, while very useful in some situations, may have little impact depending on the context in which they are used.
According to Jeff Munks, IED associate who helped conduct the research, “This is the classic ‘80/20’ rule at play — a small proportion of activities drive the bulk of the results. The question is always, which is the 20 percent that makes a difference, and now we have insight into this fundamental question.”
These findings come from a statistical analysis of the IED Index, a diagnostic and benchmarking tool that has been administered in dozens of global organizations across eight distinct industries including 3M, Boeing, Intel and McDonald’s, as well as public sector organizations. The index tool examines the frequency and effectiveness of different executive development practices. Among the findings:
In the aggregate, the top three practices that impact success are:
- The use of assessments to determine development needs.
- The collaboration between development professionals and HR partners.
- The presence of a clear and compelling executive development strategy.
The top practices for building a successor pool for the CEO role include:
- Custom-designed programs for executives that support company-specific initiatives and business goals.
- Development strategies that are integrated with other talent management activities such as talent reviews and succession planning.
- Encouraging executives to seek opportunities outside their immediate roles to support their own development.
Organizations lack alignment on the primary goals of executive development. Respondents report a lack of strategy, as well as a lack of utilizing metrics to measure the impact of their executive development programs.
A wide variety of development practices are utilized. Likely a byproduct of the lack of strategy, most organizations are executing at least a dozen and at times more than 20 unique development activities.
Three common practices have relatively low impact on an organization’s overall executive development activities:
- Board involvement in the succession planning and talent reviews for key executive positions.
- Ex-pat assignments to develop leaders.
- Active use of executive coaching.
Source: Institute of Executive Development
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