A recent study reported that more than 70% of executives surveyed rated lack of leadership capacity as their top workforce concern for 2023. In the wake of the pandemic, the "great resignation" and the "big quit", it’s understandable.
Here's some good news! There is a solution, and it can be implemented and deliver big results in a matter of months, not years. But to get there, top leaders need to relearn a simple truth about leadership development.
Leaders Develop By Leading
Early in my career, I had the opportunity to participate in a study mission to Japan to observe and learn about Lean production from the Toyota Motor Company. We went to learn about the tools and methods responsible for beating our U.S. clients on quality and price.
But what amazed and inspired me most from the experience were the seemingly endless number of frontline leaders - some experienced, some not - from the factory floor and office buildings all enthusiastically reporting on results from team-based projects aimed at advancing company goals. When asked how they made it happen, the answer was always the same: "I followed the process."
Creating More Opportunities and Making it Easier
Many organizations mistakenly believe that developing more leaders requires big commitments in training and coaching, and the introduction of new tools and language, and takes years to bear fruit. But the truth is, most organizations don’t have a leadership capacity gap. What’s lacking are leadership opportunities and a reliable process for guiding employees ready to take on a new challenge.
The secret to Toyota’s decades-long success is a steady and wide stream of frontline opportunities to lead. Toyota and other organizations believe in the power of employee ideas to improve performance. It simply takes a commitment to a reliable and rewarding process. These organizations make it easy for anyone to lead an improvement team by providing plenty of opportunities. All that’s required is the willingness to follow the process.
Developing More Leaders in the Digital Age
Over the past three decades, I’ve had the privilege of supporting executive teams that recognize the potential for solving problems and growing more leaders at the same time. The key to success is an easy-to-learn and reliable process. We’ve supported these efforts with a process for leading teams that gives leaders just what’s needed, at the right time, for motivating team members to share ideas and do the work required to convert their best ideas into action. Stellar results from more than 10,000 teams working on real problems, from large to smaller enterprises and across the factory floor to customer service desks inspired us to launch IMPACT™.
IMPACT is a complete digital platform for developing leaders by creating opportunities to solve real problems with employee ideas. It works in remote, in-person, and hybrid work settings. It empowers aspiring and experienced leaders to lead without worrying about the mechanics of leading an improvement team. It’s easy to install, completely secure, and scalable (launch with one or 100+ team leaders at the same time).
If you’re concerned about building more leadership capacity, getting started has never been easier. Just remember, if you have people who are willing to read, they will be able to lead and produce amazing results.