ASTD Conference 2012 – Monday

May 7, 2012 Simon Leadership Development

I spent some time earlier in the day exploring the Expo. Maybe it was the new aftershave I’m wearing but there were far fewer enthusiastic sales people grabbing me than is usually the case. The one stand where I spent some considerable time was speaking with Dustin Clinard of MindGym. Their revamped curriculum of 90 minute sessions looks excellent for supporting development across a range of business skills areas. And, as someone who is focused on developing people across the globe, including a number of locations that do not have a high density of people, I was encouraged that they are now offering their sessions via webinar. I was also pleased to learn that they are now able to offer their sessions in India which is a key area of focus for me.

Jack Zenger’s session on Strengths Based Leadership Development was interesting, although in truth I felt that the content could have been covered comprehensively in 30 minutes rather than the allotted 75. Still, Jack’s seven reasons why strengths based leadership development is the way forward were useful takeaways:

1. Building strengths is the only way to grow into an exceptional leader. *
2. A strengths focus produces greater improvement.
3. The oranization benefits.
4. There is a broader spectrum of development methods available. **
5. Motivation increases.
6. Positively impacts the culture of the organization. ***
7. It’s much more fun to work on your strengths.

* There is a strong correlation between exceptional leaders and higher employee engagement.

** Developing strengths enables non-linear development activities. It was a shame that Jack skipped over this area given that the program synopsis promised this would be the main focus of the session.

*** Strengths based leadership development moves an organization away from a ‘blame culture’ and towards a growth culture. 

By far and away the highlight of the day for me was the panel discussion on Developing Future Leaders. The session was efficiently facilitated by Elaine Biech (EB) and the four panelists were Jack Zenger (JZ), Bill Byham (BB), Bev Kaye (BK) and Roland Smith (RS). The entire room was completely captivated and engaged and I’m sure anyone who was there will have found it to be a rich experience. My summary of the main takeaways follows:

EB – What are the main challenges we face in developing future leaders?  

– Global Perspective (JZ)
– Virtual Teams (JZ)
– Talent pool of future leaders is getting smaller, therefore there needs to be better utilization of women in leadership (BB) and older workers (BK).

Leaders have a pivotal role in engaging, retaining and developing talent (BK).

EB – How can we develop leaders faster?

– Design jobs and more importantly experiences to develop multiple competencies simultaneously (BB).

– Leaders need to have IQ (Intelligence Quotient), EQ (Emotional Quotient), SQ (Social Quotient), AQ (Adversity Quotient) and FQ (after a pause for effect, we learnt this was Fluidity Quotient) (BK).

– Existing leaders need to act as coaches and mentors (RS).

– Keep development simple and make it part of one’s daily leadership activities. Existing leaders need to get better at having quick and simple development conversations on a daily basis (BK).

This prompted JZ to mention the example of Wells Fargo who have declared that leaders should spend two thirds of their time coaching. Unfortunately, he didn’t elaborate so there is some further research for me to do on this case study.

EB – What are the challenges and complexities of developing global leaders?

– How to develop global acumen without necessarily moving people to different geographical locations (BB).

– More reflection after assignments, i.e. “What did you learn?” (BK).

EB – What is the one single competency that is most important to leaders of the future?

Curiosity (BK)
Interpersonal Skills (BB)
Being Inspiring and Motivating (JZ)
Wisdom (RS)

There then followed a number of audience questions that threw out a number of random nuggets:

– Leaders are often good at linear succession planning but they need to become better at finding buried treasure (BK).

– Busy managers need simple questions that they can use to ask their staff regularly for feedback, e.g. “when was the last time you said ‘I love my job’?” (BK).

– Ask managers “What have you learned and who have you taught?” (BK).

– First level manager training needs to be very strong (BB).

– When researching and applying the CCL coaching model (Assess, Challenge and Support), leaders are good at challenging and assessing but need to get much better at supporting (RS).

– The three key focus areas for leaders should be Culture, Strategy and Talent. Most importantly, the senior team have to buy-in to this in order to focus leaders throughout the organization on these three key areas (RS).

– Is the oft quoted 70/20/10 (experience/coaching/training) of development an urban myth? (BK). The answer was a combination of yes and no – but you really had to be there :)


Share this post with your network

Share to Google Plus

ASTD, developing future leaders, developing leaders of the future, employee engagement survey, how to develop leaders faster,

Powered by WordPress. Designed by elogi.