Tag Archives: skills


Why do so many companies struggle to develop the leaders they need?

As western economies slowly emerge from the downturn, growing companies will soon face a challenging question – How to develop the leaders to drive growth.

In a poll of UK business leaders, only 7% of Senior Managers thought that their companies develop global leaders effectively.(Source:Developing the Global Leader of Tomorrow, Ashridge Business School).   Meanwhile a poll of 500 US business leaders in 2012 revealed that two thirds of respondents felt that Leadership Development was their number one priority. (Source: The State of Human Capital 2012 McKinsey).  Another 2012 McKinsey report showed that around 30% of US business leaders admitted that they missed chances to exploit international business opportunities because their company lacked leaders with the right qualities. (Developing Global Leaders.  McKinsey 2012).

Add to this the estimate of £30 billion spent globally on Leadership Development (Ref: Personnel Today) and there seems to be a disconnect between what organisations want and what they get.  How can you be sure that the Leadership Development work your company does is really working?

At The Arden Partnership, we’ve been developing leaders for many years.  Here are our thoughts on getting the best value for leadership training and development.

  • Make sure that the content of the training is truly meaningful to the organisation and the participants.  We worked with one organisation which had tried various approaches to training leaders with traditional classroom lectures and exercises.  Although the participants seemed to enjoy dropping eggs from high windows, the content had little meaning or applicability to them.  Transfer of learning to the workplace was negligible. Solution? To work with senior management to set up business-critical, live projects in which learners practiced and honed their learning by tackling issues with real meaning for the   organisation.  Result?  Everybody in the company took an interest in their work. Everybody felt they had a stake in their success.  What went on in the     classroom suddenly became a topic of importance to the whole         enterprise.
  • Measure the outcome and the value (if any) that Leadership Development has. This is not as difficult as it sounds.  It’s reasonable to assess how much a participant who has received development investment has achieved and the extent to which she/he thinks this is due to the learning she/he achieved. Similarly you could assess job performance before and after a programme on key indicators such as sales, market share, customer satisfaction etc.  It’s also attainable to measure behavioural change by using 360° feedback or critical incident interviews.

  • Challenge the most senior leaders – those nominating and leading the participants – to get directly involved with the learning of their proteges.  The responsibility of the CEO, COO or MD lies far beyond signing the cheque and covering for the managers absence whilst she/he attends the course(s).  Real involvement means making a direct and overt link between the learning and the strategic success of the organisation.  It also means getting directly involved with the learners application in the workplace.  It can even involve undergoing the development activity itself….drawing application advice for the learner as it happens.

These are just some of the ways in which an investment in Leadership Development – one of the most important investments an organisation can make – can be optimised.

The Arden Partnership develops and coaches leaders – enabling them to get the best from their people and deliver high-quality results for their organisation.

What we do:

We will help you address the following issues:

• Leadership Development
• Coaching
• Change Leadership
• Building Effective Teamwork in remote or co-located teams
• Managing Diversity in the Workplace

Why would you need us? 

We can help you to improve results in a variety of areas:.

• Managers need to get greater results with smaller teams or fewer resources
• Employees are dissatisfied with the way they are led and managed
• Managers are behaving inappropriately towards their teams because they are under pressure to deliver; for example by bullying or harassing
• Your organisation needs to reduce costs by restructuring or re-engineering key processes
• Previously high performing executives are finding it hard to adjust to the current economic climate
• Leaders need to break bad news to employees