I’m catching up with Jay Millen, this time in Manhattan, New York, where he was having some meetings, with clients and his partners at the Caldwell Partners office in New York.
“Jay, we talked before, about the past, and about the future, regarding innovation, changes and leaders. What is your vision on the development of the next generation of agile leaders, those who will lead in 2030?”
“You see, most organizations I work with are constantly reviewing their need for the next generation of leaders, and the high potential junior leaders they hope to develop to fill those spots.
“Many times they are frustrated by the inability to develop or retain these leaders despite clear skills, intellectual horsepower, and technical competence.
“The advice I give to them is often the same as when looking at an outside senior hire:
‘values and behavior matter more than skills’
“A saying that we use a lot, is that organizations tend to ‘hire for skill and fire for behavior’.”
“What would you say is an advantage of emerging leaders, maybe compared to more senior ones?”
“Well, unlike with more senior level executives there is still the opportunity to mold and influence these values and behaviors in emerging leaders.”
“And how do you think you can achieve this in a good and lasting way?”
“I distinguish three critical organizational requirements that need to be taken into account.
“First, you have to objectively assess what drives them, their actual leadership style and behaviors.
“There are a number of tools to help do this and I have used both the leadership styles indicator, and the predictive index with great success.
“They both provide a “gap analysis” and a development plan to assist in the leadership and behavior development of emerging leaders.
“While a leopard can’t change its spots so to speak, at an earlier career stage, emerging leaders can learn how to adapt their style and mature their behavior to different environments and cultures.
“It’s critical to give them that feedback and development planning early and often in the first few years of their leadership careers.
“We can change the color or the intensity of the spots with some self-awarenss and coaching!”
“That’s a great analogy, thanks for sharing. But what about identifying potential leadership success during the assessment?”
“Great question. We find that the three key leadership success levers that these assessment tools can identify, are:
“First, the ability to deal with uncertainty and ambiguity. Second, active listening and engagement style and third, adaptive or situational leadership style.”
“What is the second critical requirement that you see?”
“In order to grow these behaviors and mature in leadership roles, the second critical organizational requirement is to provide diverse assignments, not necessarily early promotions, but more horizontal than vertical development.
“Best practice in this area is to provide engaging and innovative work in different functional areas; and involve these emerging leaders in task teams focused on a significant issue for the business.”
“And the third requirement you distinguish?”
“A third key organizational need to insure the growth of these high potential leaders of the future is to provide them with mentors and coaches who demonstrate and model these behaviors around these young leaders.
“Assigning a formal mentor or sponsor in a virtual apprentice type model is often the difference maker.
“Not only does this model behavior, but as importantly it shows that the “How” in achieving results matters.
“It’s not easy and it’s not simple but investing in talent today will build your leadership team of the future and an organization that sees the commitment to values, vision, and leadership behaviors beyond a poster on the wall.
“As we know all too well, behind every great leader is the story of a coach, teacher, grandparent, or scout leader that had huge influence in helping that person realize their potential.
“So let us start creating those stories for the next generation of workplace leaders who have been mentored by us, in their business life.
“These tools and best practice can help you write one of those stories.”
“Thank you Jay, for sharing another interesting perspective on the development of new talent; a subject that many current leaders struggle with. I’m already looking forward to our next conversation.”
Tags: Caldwell Partners, Jay Millen, #JayMillen, #CaldwellPartners, #Caldwell, Agile Talent Solutions, Compensation Assessment, Competitive Analyses, Executive Recruitment, Executive Search, Recruitment Strategy, Succession Planning, Jonathan Millen.