In our pursuit of learning more about where the future of leadership development is headed, we were invited to exchange views with colleagues, representatives of leading European Business Schools, and Talent Management professionals of large multinational organizations at a 1-day conference in Munich, Germany.
The discussions focused on key questions such as:
- What are we currently focusing on and why?
- What are major disruptions impacting Leadership Development in organizations?
- How should Leadership be different?
- How should approaches to Leadership Development change?
As can be expected, in a room full of Learning & Development experts in different roles and functions, and operating in a variety of organizations across multiple industries, views were plenty and diverse. Most inspiring –besides the candor in all discussions and the no-frills approach all conference participants shared in– was the fact that assessments of the challenges and promising approaches to deal with them successfully were fully aligned on several pertinent issues. This confirmed the direction we are working in at SyNet in diverse practitioner forums and our Think Tank group.
For all participating in this event, key agreements from the conference were related to:
- The urgent need to investigate deeper to develop a New Leadership Development Model & Theory, one that acknowledges that we don’t know what we don’t know in today’s uncertain and ambiguous world. Therefore, defining competencies of a ‘good’ leader — when nobody really has a clue or answer — requires a fundamental and radically new approach.
- How to bridge the gap between the (very different) Gen Y leadership expectations as they increasingly join organizations and current leaders in charge who have been educated by prevailing concepts of leadership.
- The question: Is the job of a leader still attractive? As we investigate Gen Y expectations going forward, we will come across substantial insight as to whether concepts such as ‘distributed leadership’ and ‘shared leadership’ indeed move organizational development forward. (See our article on the future of leaderless organizations in this issue.)
- Moving away from the model of leadership development for a few selected (high potentials) and designed around isolated events, towards making leadership development available for a wider audience and making it a on-going learning journey.
- Moving towards a model of participant-centric learning, where employees are educated to design their own individual learning and development paths yet aligned with relevant competencies for the role – versus a traditional leadership pipeline driven, seniority level-based, one-size-fits-all learning architecture.
We are looking forward to the continuing exchange in this forum as another source of inspiration and insight for the design of best-in-class learning & development solutions for our global clientele.