Developing Leaders through Delivering Results

January 28, 2014

Surveys of senior executives across the globe consistently point to strengthening leadership talent as a top priority for the success of their organizations. (AMA, 2009). They understand that a lack of leaders who are prepared to deal with an increasingly complex business world is a serious impediment to growth and even survival. Long gone are the days of leadership churning out predictable returns by effectively managing predictable processes. Over the last twenty years, the game has increasingly become about driving results by successfully planning and managing change. In this new reality, leadership development methods have changed as well. Successful efforts no longer focus solely on knowledge and awareness building. They incorporate experiential opportunities to learn in action to better prepare leaders to deal with the complex issues they’re facing.

The majority of leadership development occurring in organizations today combines two broad categories of learning experiences – knowledge-based and action-based. Knowledge-based learning is designed to build awareness and conceptual understanding of leadership issues and can include leadership courses, expert lectures, conferences, case-studies, and team development exercises. Action-based learning is designed to deepen complex understanding of how to turn knowledge into action in the context of real problems and can include action learning, executive coaching, and team coaching to name a few methodologies. This second category is firmly grounded in the belief that the best way to learn how to do something is through experience – an idea with an extensive foundation in research (Kolb, 1984).

There is a third category of very powerful developmental experiences that go largely untapped in any systematic way. This is can be referred to as results-based learning. Similar to action-based learning, it’s grounded in experiential learning theory. However it differs from action-based learning in one very critical way – focus. Action-based learning is built around learning & development issues. Learning is the primary focus. Real life projects are included to provide a relevant context within which to learn & develop. While action is a crucial component of the learning, measurable results rarely are. Conversely, results-based learning is built around measurable results – for instance sales growth or product quality. Results are the primary focus, not learning. Learning and development become, instead, the natural outgrowth of having to achieve something difficult… Read PDF of full white paper >>>