The CLO of a multi-billion dollar software
company is frustrated that leaders believe
the central recruiting organization is
responsible for attracting and selecting the
best candidate pool, instead of seeing it as
their own job to be talent magnets, constantly
leveraging their networks to reach out to
the best and the brightest.
The SVP of Talent for a large construction
and engineering company has line leaders
who expect the HR team to run the
succession process, identifying the high
potential people for the firm.
HR business partners write the
performance evaluations for their executive
leadership team because they are too busy.
The C-suite launches a multi-million dollar
leadership development initiative, yet none
of the business leaders can consistently
show up to guide the development and
execution of this effort.
How did we get to a place where
the C-suite delegates key selection,
assessment, development and
decisions to someone else? How
can this most critical driver of
shareholder value be outsourced
In 1987, Dave Packard addressed a group of
Human Resource professionals and reminded
them that when he and Bill Hewlett started
HP, they did not have what was then called
a Personnel department. He explained why.
He and Bill believed it was the job of business
leaders to hire, develop, reward and grow
their people. He thought having a Personnel
department would potentially confuse or
diffuse that clear accountability. He said,
“Engaging and developing our people is the
number one job of managers. Their legacy is
the strength of their people, which results in
the strength of our business.”
Southwest Airlines’ co-founder and CEO from
1981 to 2008 Herb Kelleher obviously had
astounding business sense. Brave enough to
not be bothered or dissuaded by the tactics
and “best practices” of other airlines, he went
his own way, charting a new path of low-cost
airfare. The results speak for themselves.
When you read Nuts! or any of the many white
papers or case studies on the company, it is
apparent that Kelleher captured the hearts and
minds of Southwest’s people. Yes, he created
a wicked sense of purpose—connect people to
what’s important in their lives through reliable,
friendly and low-cost airfare—to galvanize all
employees, but the real key to the company’s
success lies in his deep belief that running
Southwest was solely about people. The results
have been tremendous.
In the U.S. alone, companies spend over $14B annually on leadership development.1
Yet leadership development continues to be identified as a high priority need
and a key gap every year in the Conference Board’s CEO research and in Bersin’s
Human Capital reports. We believe it’s time for business leaders to take back the
investment and development of their leaders – arguably the most valuable asset of
their business. And we know that when you “Define Great, Assess Great, Experience Great and Execute Great,” you can move the mean on leadership performance and
execution in your company. After all, it’s leaders at every level that develop and
execute your strategies for success.
1 Leadership Development Factbook: Benchmarks and Trends in U.S. Leadership Development,
Bersin by Deloitte, July 2012.
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