Leadership development programs should have a strong link to an organization’s enterprise strategy – here is why

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Defining your organization’s approach towards leadership development, you have to observe the context of your organization and of your leader population. Just as important, however, is building a strong link between your leadership development strategy and your business strategy.

A strong link between your enterprise strategy and your leadership development approach does three things: it provides focus. It ensures relevance. And it adds clarity.

The link provides focus by aligning the leadership development work with the purpose and goals of the organization. A compelling link to the strategy serves to narrow down the LD work on key priorities for leadership actions, behaviors and skills to be developed. Those leadership priorities will be different, whether you are a professional services organization, a luxury design brand, or a logistics company; whether you need to navigate a period of fast growth or whether you are driving a turnaround; or whether you are exploiting a maturing business model in a stable market or are exploring new value propositions and markets.

The link provides relevance and legitimacy as it connects leadership development work – which will always require investments, not least of leaders’ time and energy – to the actual challenges faced by organizational members.

Last not least, the link provides clarity: infusing the strategy discussion into your leadership development program adds detail to peoples’ understanding of the strategy journey. It makes challenges concrete. It sparks ideas for actions and behaviors that help leaders and teams move things forward.

Having a solid understanding of the link is an asset, however, defining it requires some work. As part of our Leadership Development Kit, we have built a tool and an agenda for a practical work session to link your enterprise strategy and your leadership development efforts. You can use this tool either when kicking off a new leadership development initiative or when updating your existing initiative against the background of a new strategy.