Combining Behavior, Business, and Impact In Leadership Development


When most people think of 'business simulations' they automatically think of two things: Highly quantitative financial management or they think of something similar to the Sims®. Many leadership "purists" will balk at the idea of combining the needs of the corporate strategy with pure leadership behavior. When I talk with corporate leaders, they are looking for a combination of both and the trends appear to be clearly moving in this direction. Corporate leaders are looking for leadership development that combines three ingredients: Behavior, Business Acumen, and Impact on Outcomes. Let's have a look more closely.

Today's executives are expecting a strong focus on leadership development's impact on business outcomes. They are interested in teaching future executives how effective leadership has a direct impact on business outcomes. This gets a little complicated because now leadership development needs to fold in the business side of strategy more deeply. This isn't an easy task and puts a new burden on training and development. This is especially the case with the new management problem that is just arriving.

Top 3 Tips How To Balance The Behavior, Business Acumen, and Impact of Leadership Development

Tip 1: Don't Forget About The Behavior: There is an interesting trend to lower or eliminate the idea of behavioral expectations of leaders. I've seen this implemented at some companies and the long term effects are not pleasant. Thus, don't forget about the behavioral side. If you remove these expectations, you'll have the inmates running the asylum and it's not pretty.

Tip 2: Quantify The Outcomes: Ensure you are able to quantitatively demonstrate the positive effect on business outcomes. Here's an example: If training participants demonstrate effective leadership, they should be more profitable over a company that doesn't. Pretty easy.

Tip 2: Blend-in More Corporate Strategy: It might be a little uncomfortable at first, but take some time to really understand your corporate strategy. Once you have a basic understanding, you'll see how leadership development is critical to executing the strategy. Ensure that your corporate training demonstrates how the two work together.

In the past year or so, I've seen a strong trend where companies are effectively combining business acumen, leadership development and business outcomes into leadership development programs. Participants love it because it helps them understand why and how the leadership development training is critical to business success.