Sunday, October 24, 2010

Are CEOs and CHROs Aligned on Leadership?


So an interesting question that I pose. On the outside it seems a no brainer. CEOs have a business strategy and they know that the need leaders to enable the strategy in the organization. CHROs know that they need to deliver leaders through recruiting and development that can execute the business strategy. Yet here we are in 2010 and we find the appearance of let's review the bidding.

In 2008, IBM's CEO Study titled "Enterprise of the Future" laid out five key areas for consideration that organizations needed to be successful. These areas included Hungry for Change, Innovative Beyond Customer Imagination, Globally Integrated, Disruptive by Nature, and Genuine, Not Just Generous. There was a realization in this study that organizations needed a new breed of leaders. This was made explicit in the 2010 study. In May, IBM's Global CEO Study was released titled "Capitalizing on Complexity." In the study, CEOs identified "creative leadership" as a core need of their organizations in the future. This quote from the study shares some of the implicit thinking behind creative leadership...

"Creativity is often defined as the ability to bring into existence something new or different, but CEOs elaborated. Creativity is the basis for “disruptive innovation and continuous re-invention,” a Professional Services CEO in the United States told us. And this requires bold, breakthrough thinking. Leaders, they said, must be ready to upset the status quo even if it is successful. They must be comfortable with and committed to ongoing experimentation."

Then in October 2010 comes IBM's Global Chief Human Resource Officer (CHRO) study titled "Working Beyond Borders." In it, CHROs continued to indicate the importance of developing leaders in the organization as captured in this piece from the study...

"Building an organization with flexibility and dexterity requires leadership with the creativity to adapt to a constantly changing environment. These leaders must be able to negotiate through a maze of differing cultures, complex inter-generational dynamics and varied communication styles...Creative leaders share a set of common characteristics that help them innovatively lead their organizations. They challenge every element of the business model to realize untapped opportunities and improve operational efficiency. Leaders grow their businesses through the exploration, selection and execution of diverse, even unconventional, ideas about the potential of new markets. They leverage new communication styles to motivate talent and reinvent relationships, both internally and across the supply chain, to create collaborative productivity. They focus on the bigger picture — the global marketplace — and how to lithely optimize the collective skills of their organizations."

So there appears to be alignment in the need for creative leaders or at least that CHROs read the CEO study. But then 2 of every 3 CHROs admit their organizations are ineffective at developing future leaders (See the attached graphic from the IBM Global CHRO Study). That is surprising (IBM thought so as well)...

So taking a different perspective based upon the CHRO study is important, because admitting that we are ineffective at leadership development has ramifications. First we are saying that the estimated $9.5B per year we are spending on leadership development is being wasted. Second we are saying that what is most important to CEOs we are not good at doing for them. Are these the messages we want to communicate to our bosses and organizations? Kind of doubt it, but that is how it came out...

Are CHROs and their teams ineffective at building leaders? Probably not...In an earlier post here titled "Leadership and Organizational Performance...Lack of Linkage" I raised the aspect that academic research had problems, for a variety of reasons, in linking leadership to organizational performance and by default leadership development programs have the same challenge.

So how do we adjust and meet expectations? For starters, as Human Capital Management (HCM) leaders we have to get serious about defining leadership capabilities needed to execute the business strategy and workforce analytics needed to measure whether we are being successful. In fact, the effort put towards measuring the impact leadership development should equal the effort we put into leadership development itself. Without the key metrics, we are unable to determine impact or make adjustments in leadership development programs...this is critical to changing the perspective we have set for the organizations we serve.

Nuff said...


Twitter: JKeithDunbar
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