Developing effective leaders is a critical component of any successful organization. But simply training individuals in leadership skills is not enough. For maximum impact, executive and leadership development programs must be closely linked to an organization’s business strategy.
The most obvious benefit of aligning leadership development with business strategy is improved performance.
Organizations that link leadership development to their business goals see an average of 15% improvement in organizational performance, according to a study by the Corporate Executive Board (CEB). This makes sense: if leaders are trained to understand and execute on the organization’s strategic objectives, they are better equipped to make decisions that support those objectives. In other words, when leaders are on the same page as the business strategy, they can more effectively guide their teams in the right direction.
Another benefit of aligning leadership development with business strategy is increased engagement.
Employees who see a clear connection between their work and the organization’s goals are more engaged and motivated. And when leaders are trained to communicate the strategic direction of the organization, employees are more likely to understand and align their own work with that direction. In fact, a study by Gallup found that organizations with high levels of employee engagement have 21% higher productivity than those with low levels of engagement. By linking leadership development to business strategy, organizations can drive employee engagement and ultimately improve their bottom line.
A third benefit of strategically aligned leadership development is improved talent management.
When leaders are trained to understand the organization’s strategic objectives, they are better equipped to identify and develop talent that supports those objectives. This includes not only identifying high-potential individuals, but also developing succession plans to ensure continuity of leadership. Relevant studies show that organizations with strong leadership development programs were 50% more likely to be able to fill leadership positions from within. By aligning leadership development with business strategy, organizations can build a pipeline of future leaders who are aligned with the organization’s goals.
How can organizations link their executive and leadership development to their business strategy?
The first step is to ensure that the organization’s strategic goals are clearly communicated and understood by all leaders. This includes not only the high-level goals, but also the specific actions required to achieve those goals.
Once leaders understand the strategic direction of the organization, they can be trained in the specific skills required to execute on that direction. This might include training in financial analysis, strategic planning, or change management, depending on the organization’s specific needs.
To ensure that leadership development is aligned with business strategy, organizations should also regularly review and update their training programs. As business objectives evolve, so too should leadership training programs. Regular assessment of the effectiveness of these programs is also critical to ensuring that they are meeting the needs of the organization.
If your organization is looking to improve its leadership capabilities, start by aligning your training programs with your business strategy. The results will speak for themselves. Reach out today to discuss who we can support you.
Main image by Volodymyr Hryshchenko