The Personal ROI of Leadership Development

by Connie Costigan | Posted | Leadership

The Personal ROI of Leadership Development

It's no secret that most managers are promoted to their positions based on successful performance in their role as an individual contributor. HR leaders see this happen all the time. My friend Henryk discussed this practice, as well as the difference between performance and potential, in depth in his post last week.

When high performers get promoted, we know what typically happens next. You have people with a strong skill set in one area, trying to succeed in a function that requires an entirely different skill set. Whereas before their individual performance had a positive impact on the company's objectives, now their performance impact is much broader, because their ability to succeed as managers directly affects the performance of many more people.

Leadership development is a big deal

We recently shared the findings of some research we did with Harvard Business Review Analytic Services on how pronounced this problem is in the minds of executives across the globe. These executives believe that despite the importance of managers to the success of their organizations, they aren't investing enough in the training and tools to support them.

As a leader at Halogen, I can tell you that our company thinks leadership development is a big deal. A huge one in fact, because we truly believe everyone deserves to work for a great leader. And we do more than pay lip service to this tenet.

Several years back our CEO, Paul, had a big ask of our VP of HR, Dominique. Her mandate - fully backed with executive sponsorship - was to strategically plan and implement a long-term program that helps Halogen develop great leaders.

Within a few short months, many of us in middle-management at Halogen embarked on one of the most amazing learning journeys we have ever experienced. Yes. I said journey. And I'd like to tell you a little more about it.

Leadership development is a learning journey

Our leadership development program is supported by a strong partnership with The Anderson Leadership Group. This company has helped Halogen shape a program that is aligned with our culture, strategy and business practices, and one that we use day to day.

We spent our initial year in the program with our coaches from Anderson, first undergoing an in depth leadership effectiveness assessment and constructing our own development plans, to improve on our leadership weaknesses and leverage our innate strengths.

To support these plans, we worked closely with peers whose strengths complemented our areas for improvement. At the same time, we participated in training sessions focused on understanding, inspiring and developing our people, followed by action-based learning to support each module.

We're also very transparent with our own individual teams, not only applying our new leadership insights but sharing our development plans with them in a trusting environment.

At the end of each participant's first year in the program, they take part in a "Capstone Event" where they share an overview of their experience and the key things they've learned, with the rest of the Halogen leadership team. It is humbling. It is rewarding. And it ain't over.

In each subsequent year, we continue to spend time in small coaching pods, working on practical management issues, analyzing edge cases, using a peer coaching model with colleagues across the organization to support our ongoing leadership development plans. We laugh. We cry (well for those of you who know me, I mean, I cry.) And we grow.

Nurturing a culture of high performance and feedback

Halogen's talent management solutions also form a great foundation to support our leadership program. We use our software and our services to nurture a culture of high performance and feedback, align goals, plan employee development to improve performance or support career transitions, identify talent pools, recruit and onboard new team members, and understand each other a lot better. We like drinking our own champagne - that is certain.

My experience as a leader here is why I'm so very proud that Halogen's leadership development program was recently recognized as a winner of the Top 500 Leadership Excellence Awards, by Leadership Excellence Magazine and Halogen Software placed 4th among more than 100 nominees in the mid-market category.

Congrats to everyone on our team involved in designing, implementing and participating in such a highly regarded leadership development program. The experience is phenomenal and one special part of what makes Halogen an amazing place to work and grow.

Your turn: Have you participated in a leadership development program that has made a difference to you or to your organization? Share your thoughts here!

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