We're Waiting Too Long to Start Investing in Leadership DevelopmentJack Zenger was recently talking with long-time Client, Symantec, a prominent Silicon Valley software firm about the remarkable success they’ve had using Zenger Folkman’s Strengths-Based Leadership Development System. The company has gathered compelling evidence that “leaders who participate in their development programs are getting higher scores on essentially every leadership competency they measure …. Upper management, already highly supportive of their efforts, now has hard evidence that confirms the value of their investment.”

Jack asked Sandy Hunter, Senior Director of Leadership Development, if they were doing this all over again what would they do differently. Without hesitation she replied, “We’d begin earlier in people’s careers.”

Following articles about how we’re waiting too long to train our leaders in his Harvard Business Review and Forbes blogs, Jack was interviewed by Chief Learning Officer on Zenger Folkman’s research and experience around this vital organization performance issue. In “Start Development Sooner” Jack states:

• “Today we are devoting roughly three-fourths of our development effort to Gen X and 20 percent on Gen Y. We’re investing as much on those in their mid-50 as we are on Gen Y, and that seems misguided to me.”
• ” … leadership development should be more broadly disseminated. It begins with the premise that you want leadership to exist at all levels.”
• “The current “sink or swim” approach to developing leaders obviously works for some individuals. But how many careers would have been dramatically altered if the individual had received development at an earlier age? And what of their impact on subordinates during those years they were muddling through?”
• ” … strong evidence to support the fact that leaders are more inclined to stay with an organization where they feel they are growing and developing.
• “Gen Y is sometimes stereotyped as being self-centered. Yet on the leadership competence of collaboration and teamwork, they were at the 60th percentile, while the percentile scores were lower for each older generation.”
• “The final surprise was the extremely high scores of the Gen Y group on the dimension of practicing self-development. Here they were at the 64th percentile while the boomers were at the 52nd percentile. This contradicts the image of complacent know-it-alls that is held by some.”

Last month Jack delivered a 60 minute webinar on this topic entitled “Investing in Leadership Development: Are We Waiting Too Long to Start?” Click here to access this archived webinar with ZF’s proprietary research and experience as well as participant polls.

If you’re in the Toronto area on March 19, please join me for our complimentary Developing Exceptional Leaders and Coaches executive briefing. We also just finalized all our dates and locations for our Extraordinary Leader and Extraordinary Coach public workshops that I’ll be delivering in May in Toronto and Calgary. Learn about U.S. locations and dates with Zenger Folkman at Coming Events.