3M and General Physics make leadership count
Innovative approaches to leadership development
ccording to a survey carried out on a total of 756 CEOs in 2002 by The Center for Creative Leadership and Chief Executive Magazine, leadership development has been hailed as a critical component of competitive advantage.
While this may not come as much of a shock to some organizations, the surprising fact is that despite widespread acceptance of the importance of nurturing leadership talent amongst today's business leaders, many admit to having a poor strategy for making it happen. This is undoubtedly a major problem, for as businesses continue to be challenged by developments in ...view middle of the document...
The system will only take off when the level of executive buy-in reaches a critical point. It is this stage that often incites the majority of debate as experts agree to disagree on the best methods for encouraging commitment. However some of the basic ingredients must include an inspirational CEO, a senior management team that practices what it preaches and clear, honest and reciprocal lines of communication. J Creating alignment ± having de®ned direction and inspired commitment it would be a sad waste of effort if the system failed to link strategically with the goals of the organization.
`` Despite the widespread acceptance of the importance of nurturing leadership talent amongst today's business
leaders, many companies admit to having a poor strategy for making it happen.
VOL. 20 NO. 6 2004, pp. 11-14, ã Emerald Group Publishing Limited, ISSN 0258-0543
Perhaps one of the hardest obstacles to surmount of all is the effort to ensure both relevance of content to everyday job roles and the maximization of return for the company when delegates get back to the workplace. J Facing adaptive challenges ± adaptive challenges represent those challenges to values, habits or long standing patterns of behavior. Because successful leadership development is often referred to as a grass roots movement, facing up to such challenges is a natural part of the process. Convincing employees to change these ®rmly set behaviors thus closely links in with the challenge of gaining commitment. According to Harvard-published authors Ronald A. Heifetz and Donald L. Laurie, the role of the leader in facing adaptive challenges is to protect employees from outside threats while allowing the pressures of reality to be felt without too much distress ± challenging values, beliefs and norms in the process. Whilst these four areas are not in themselves a de®nitive list of leadership challenges, they do serve a useful purpose in helping organizations focus attention and resources on areas of recognized priority. Having done so, the next challenge becomes ®nding methods and approaches that bring the best results. Two approaches worth examination involve global giant 3M and US training organization General Physics.
3M's leadership development institute (LDI)
Along with the arrival of a new CEO in January 2001, there came for 3M a realization that leadership development required a radical overhaul. According to Human Resource Planning, the diversi®ed technology organization has since invested in excess of $3 million in a purpose built facility to fast track its most promising performers. For 3M, this considerable investment is borne out of a belief in leadership development as a key weapon of competitive advantage. 3M's position has been encapsulated in six leadership ``attributes'' that have been de®ned and communicated. Leaders are expected to chart the course, raise the bar, energize...