Case Study-Can Banking Leaders Change?As part of succession planning many organizations are concerned about developing their next generation of senior leaders. Many large companies in well-established industries like financial services, resources, manufacturing, and the like or public sector, education, and healthcare organizations struggle with getting middle and senior managers to embrace leadership development opportunities.


We’ve recently published a case study from the banking industry with a number of high-level leaders nearing retirement. This large North American bank wanted to ensure future success by increasing the level of leadership effectiveness across the organization.  The development process began with a 360 strengths-based assessment of all eighty leaders.

After the feedback was collected, each leader received their individual results, attended a day-long development workshop and then created an individual development plan. Each leader was asked to discuss their development plan with their manager so that they would be supported in the process. Three months after the workshops, all managers were given a follow-up survey assessing their subordinate’s efforts to improve. Managers were also asked to meet regularly with their direct reports to discuss progress. After eighteen months, all leaders participated in a reassessment of their leadership skills to assess progress.

Here are a few key conclusions and outcomes:

  • One of the most significant keys to improving the overall leadership effectiveness score was to involve managers so that they would encourage and support the development of their direct reports.
  • After eighteen months of developmental activities, the post-test results showed a significant level of improvement. The overall effectiveness score for the group of eighty leaders was at the 65th percentile or 15 percentile points above average.
  • By using non-linear development techniques (cross-training) to build strengths, 34% of the leaders were able to increase the number of competencies at the 90th percentile.
  • Eleven leaders with fatal flaws, were able to move from the 20th percentile in the pre-test results to the 50th percentile in their post-test.
  • Leaders who decided to focus on fixing their weaknesses showed a 12 percentile point improvement. Leaders who chose to build their strengths made a 26 percentile gain in overall leadership effectiveness.
  • The average level of employee engagement in their pre-test for those leaders who improved was at the 60th percentile. The post-test results showed a significant improvement to the 71st percentile.

Read the full case study here.