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An excellent question posed by systemic team coaching guru, Prof Peter Hawkins, is ‘Will what you did to win today’s game, guarantee you winning tomorrow’s?’ The answer in our fast-moving times is, not likely. When it comes to leadership development CEOs must plan for the future.

In developing future leaders of organisations, Lockstep aims to challenge the intention and efficacy of development programmes. How can organisations put in place a development programme that caters for tomorrow’s needs?

During a recent leadership programme with a financial services client, we decided to bin the traditional list of leadership values and principles that borrow words from leadership books but don’t speak to specific needs. Instead, we worked backwards from the needs of the organisation at hand.

This company needed to ensure that lessons arising from the programme were readily applicable in the workplace. ​W​e found that​ ​considering​ both the needs of the delegates and ​the ​organisation, succeeded in drawing out not only engaged conversation, but also the required results.

What we asked:

The organisation: To win tomorrow’s game, what would your organisation need – in the way of competencies and behaviours – from its future leaders? And

The team: What might ‘stepping up’ look like for you, and what would enable or disable this?

Vigorous debate and unpacking of these questions resulted in a fruitful sense of clarity around what needs to be developed within people and within the system that forms their workplace.

Leadership development for aspiring leaders works best when an organisation focuses on three specific things.
  • Identify what stepping up looks like. This refers to a collaborative effort between managers or staff members holding leadership positions currently, and those who will be groomed into leadership roles in the future. These leaders and future leaders must be allowed to share what ‘stepping up’, a required leadership competency, may look like for them.
  • Identify what enables or disables the display of these competencies. The system will impact behaviour, so it is important for employers to be mindful of their organisational culture and any habits within it which may assist or hinder these. Lockstep recommends looking not just at an individual’s personality, but also at the relationships and connections at play around them.
  • Set out a plan where future leaders can develop these competencies and behaviours every single day. Building leadership development into daily practice makes more sense than expecting leaders to be developed through sporadic workshops or, worse, simply by chance.

Matching future organisational and leadership needs allows an organisation to fine-tune its strategy and build a culture that will actually help steer the organisation into the future.

While developing your leadership programmes, strive to focus on the future game and relationship with the future system, rather than getting tied up in today’s game and internal processes. Make use of workshops and collaborative conversations, as these present opportunities for collaboration and ongoing learning, co-create leadership growth strategies and act to shift mindsets around what enables and disables growth.

Additionally, leaders need live practice, regular feedback and the opportunities to solve organisational challenges as they arise; providing this type of experience for them need not be complicated.

There is a world of opportunity in creating internal disruptors and visionaries who can help your organisation thrive in the future.

Now is the time to build value.

Tom Dawson-Squibb

Tom Dawson-Squibb

Tom Dawson-Squibb is a Senior Associate at Lockstep. Tom has a deep commitment to nurturing up and coming leaders as culture champions within their organisations. He is also the lead facilitator for the Aspiring Leaders Programme – a bespoke 5-month programme designed to develop young leaders and harness their power to positively impact an organisation. For more on the Lockstep Aspiring Leaders Programme, click here.

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