Zenger Folkman Leadership SummitOur Business Development Director Brad Smith, and I just returned from an intensive week in Park City, Utah. This idyllic setting in the mountains above Salt Lake City is famous for their natural beauty, numerous ski hills and resorts, and the Sundance Film Festival.

We didn’t have much time to enjoy this beautiful location with an action packed schedule that included Zenger Folkman’s Annual Extraordinary Leadership Summit, International Strategic Partners conference (which included updates to ZF’s programs and services), and certification in our newest coaching program, Elevating Feedback. We also heard presentations on leadership development using ZF’s programs and services from Sony Computer Entertainment, DirectTV, Renault, Celgene, and the State of Minnesota.

We came away with extensive notes, many insights, and personal skill development. As we continue digesting and preparing to implement some of what we learned, here are a few key points that stand out:

• The most powerful leadership development is based on data and connects the approaches used to profitability, sales, turnover, engagement, safety, and productivity. If those don’t improve we’re squandering dollars and wasting everyone’s time.
• Strengths-based leadership development is now being used by the biggest companies in automotive, financial services, telecom and other industries because they’ve rigorously tested this ground breaking approach against traditional competency and 360-based approaches focused on fixing weaknesses.
• Getting senior executives to actively lead and even deliver leadership development programs has a powerful impact.
• Interest in and application of, coaching skills is growing rapidly. But most approaches don’t have a measureable impact and aren’t based on research.
• Talent management is becoming a vital issue as retirements loom and organizations grow. Leading companies are stepping up their high potential programs, creating “Talent Dashboards,” revamping career/performance management, and focusing on developing non-management but highly valuable individual performers.
• People crave meaning in their work. Highly engaged employees feel a deep connection to a higher organizational purpose.
• Research shows there are six different ways to inspire and motivate that needs to match a leadership strengths and authentic style.

Tomorrow’s issue of The Leader Letter publishes my last month’s blog posts. In it you’ll find video clips, research, a new white paper, self-assessment, probing questions, and a book review with excerpts related to many of these themes.

May you find a few leadership lessons to help in scaling your leadership summit.