Why Leadership Development Should Continuously Evolve

An extraordinary amount of progressive change occurs in the lifetime of a country. 150 years ago, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, leading to the end of slavery. 93 years ago, the Nineteenth Amendment was passed and voting rights were extended to women; 45 years after that, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 led to law that prohibited discrimination in voting based on race or color. Today, Barack Obama serves as the first African-American elected as President of the United States.
 
Evolutionary change occurs on a global basis and an organizational basis as well. Facebook was launched nine years ago and today more than 1 of every 7 people around the world has a Facebook account — and 75% of those individuals access their social network via their mobile phone. Twitter was introduced in July 2006. By August 2013, it had more than half a billion users with 21% of the world’s internet population using Twitter every month. Perhaps most surprising is that Twitter reports that its’ fastest growing demographic is the 55-64 age group.
 
Factors Driving Change for Leadership Development
 
In addition to some of the innovative government policies and technologies that have evolved over time, there are some specific business drivers that shift as well.  The following elements do change significantly over time and should be addressed by leaders:

Business Strategies
Competitive Forces
Economic Conditions
Products and Services Marketplace Dynamics
Workforce Demographics and Psychographics
 
These changes require a corresponding progressive transition of a company’s Leadership Strategy and Leadership Development Programs.  As we move further from the global recession and companies are gearing up for growth, continuous leadership development is at the top of the agenda.
 
Here are some actions that may be necessary:
 
Ways to Evolve the Leadership Strategy and Leadership Development Programs

Transitioning the succession management plan to reflect the quantity, characteristics, and diversity of the leaders required for our new normal.
Expanding or revising the targeted leadership competencies required for leadership acquisition, development, and advancement.
Elaborating on the new collective leadership capabilities that are essential when leaders are working together to execute the new strategies, solve current challenges, and adapt to continuous change.
Promoting the desired leadership culture necessary to embrace and support the new business strategies.
Introducing or revising assessments that focus on the new competencies to reflect the changing leadership strategy.
Updating action learning to include more future-oriented business challenges involving volatility and uncertainty.
Renewing cross functional job rotations to incorporate new and emerging roles and responsibilities. 
Upgrading corporate university programs with flexible and scalable assets to meet the needs of leaders at all levels and changing strategic priorities.     
 
Aligning leadership development outcomes to new business strategies is an ongoing challenge. Performance consulting is one way to partner with business leaders and understand changing strategies to make better, sounder decisions that achieve sustained results.
 
The professional social network LinkedIn received its first member ten years ago; today there are more than 238 million users with two new users joining every second. Your leadership development programs won’t experience such an extreme evolution, but you should embrace their constant changes.   Proactively monitoring and implementing the continuous improvement of leadership development programs will support future business strategies and goals – putting your organization in a greater position to achieve success.

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