3 Phases To Leadership Development

Water Ripple photo by Bill Gracey

Great leadership doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a process. But, companies are increasing their budgets on leadership training programs. Leadership contributor on Forbes, Mike Myatt, wrote in an article, “U.S. businesses spend more than $170 Billion dollars on leadership-based curriculum.” While he identifies “The #1 Reason Leadership Development Fails,” here are 3 phases to leadership development.

Find Your Talent

Sometimes easier said than done. Finding the right fit talent for leadership is essential to the success of the team and each individual. The individual doesn’t need to be friends with everyone. They don’t even need to be liked by everyone. Leadership isn’t about making everyone like you. However, people should still want to follow the talent’s vision. Along with this, your talent should be closely scrutinized for values alignment. It will be a long, hard, road to development if the leadership coach and future leader don’t see eye-to-eye on the core values. This isn’t to say that future leaders can’t overcome this hurdle, but it should be approached with caution.

Individualized Impressive Experiences

Follow the 3 Easy E’s to understand your team on an individualized level. This will provide the framework to your leadership development program.

This video of Always #LikeAGirl campaign to Champion Girls’ Confidence shows how we can impact a person’s life through relevant experiences. How do you think the boy at 01:06 felt? There’s no doubt that what he experienced in that moment has made an impression he will never forget.

This video of END IT Movement brings trafficking awareness to Atlanta, Georgia. Take a moment to pause the video at 01:55 and share what you think she is feeling in the comments below. Impressive experiences are what will mold future leaders for a lifetime.


Like a brand new sponge under running water, self-reflection is needed to allowing this immersive experience to be completely absorbed. You can often find tools online to help enhance this period. Use these tools as a resource to create your own. Allowing your growing leader to have a sabbatical during this time can provide exponential returns. A sabbatical is meant to allow for the development of 3 perspectives: How you view others? How you view work? How you view yourself? “Great leaders hunger for life-long learning.” and part of that learning is self-reflection.

Do you have a leadership development program?

Big Questions Leaders Ask

Below is a guest post by author, Mark Miller, of “The Secret: What Great Leaders Know and Do”. You can read a review of his book by clicking here.

Mark Miller Guest Post

One of the most valuable activities I’ve done in recent years has been unannounced market visits. On more than one occasion, our leadership team has visited 20+ restaurants in 48 hours – about a third of the stops were at our restaurants and the balance were visits to our competitors. Never in my 35-year career have I been more grounded in reality.

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote the first post in this series regarding the most important questions leaders ask. In that initial post, I surfaced THE primary question every leader must askTweet: THE primary question every leader must ask. @leadersserve #leadership Guest post http://ctt.ec/e7DhY+ – and answer: “Where are we going?” Today, another foundational question:

Where Are We Today?

The importance of knowing your current reality may seem obvious to you. Unfortunately, I see many leaders who are moving into the future blinded and oblivious to their current reality. The tragedy in this… it is virtually impossible to chart the most appropriate course to your preferred future if you don’t know where you’re starting the journey. Knowing where you are today is just as important as clarity regarding your ultimate destination.

Have you ever looked at a map at an airport or shopping mall and been confused regarding which way to turn? I have. Your destination may be crystal clear, but unless you can find a “YOU ARE HERE” icon, the map is not much help. You must understand where you are before you can move confidently towards your destination.

There are many ways to discern reality – surveys, focus groups, current and historical data, one-on-one interviews, and more. However, there’s really no substitute for firsthand observations. That’s why great generals visit the front lines. It’s also why Bill George, the former CEO of Medtronic — the medical device company, was in the operating room to observe more than 1000 procedures during his tenure with the company.

This need to be grounded in truth is also why many organizations start their strategic planning process with an Environmental Scan. That’s just a fancy name for a reality check. It’s the compilation of all the data and insight you can reasonably compile to define your current situation (a.k.a. Where are we now?)

When done well, an Environmental Scan not only includes information about your organization, it also includes industry and competitive analysis. You may even look at demographic trends and future projections based on those trends.

Regardless of your approach, leaders must be able to assess your current reality. Then, you can intelligently answer the question we’ll address next week: How will we get there?

How Do You Stay Grounded In Reality?

This post originally published Monday, March 3, 2014 at www.greatleadersserve.org

Author Mark Miller

Mark Miller, Vice President of Organizational Effectiveness for Chick-fil-A, believes that leadership is not something that’s exclusive; within the grasp of an elite few, but beyond the reach of everyone else.  In the tenth anniversary edition of The Secret, Miller reminds readers of a seemingly contradictory concept: to lead is to serve. With more than 600,000 books in print, Mark has been surprised by the response and delighted to serve leaders through his writing.

The 10th anniversary edition of The Secret will be released September 2, 2014.

Do you look for patterns?

MasterChef Leadership Lessons

Reality TV can suck me in sometimes. It’s not the realism, because so many say it might be scripted. The social-psychology is what does it. The same reason why I am so intrigued by the effect social media has on our everyday life and personable interactions. MasterChef on Fox is just one of my favorites. There are so many leadership lessons to learn from every situation, and last night’s episode was no different. You can keep reading, because I won’t spoil anything for you.

With most reality competition television, there’s typically one person safe for the week while the others battle it out to avoid elimination. In the case of MasterChef, the safe contestant gets to choose an “advantage.” Some advantages are the ability to choose a specific dish for the remaining contestants to cook, while another is the privileged of selecting teams. How you use your advantage could determine how far you go in the game. Obviously, if you’re able to eliminate all the contestants who are threats to your game, your chances of going to the end are significantly higher. This is where the lesson happens.

Do you recognize when there are patterns? Noticing these can help you leverage “advantage” opportunities. In our case, the advantages are opportunities for development. Below are negative patterns that are the most difficult to develop on.

Poor Time-Management
Probably the most noticeable. These people tirelessly grind themselves down, never recognizing the unattainable deadlines in front of them. They’re often late, to work, to meetings, and even getting off work. Granted, staying late is something all employers love in their employees, but great leaders recognize the need for balance and harmony between work and lifeTweet: . Reducing stress and burnout increases productivity. Effective time-management is invaluable in any food service operation. Have you ever received your meal to find part was cold? Good news! This is the easiest of the three to correct.

Weak Communication
Let’s all be a little honest here. Communication is something we can always polish. But, weak communication can handicap any person’s effectiveness in their operation. Most of you have probably already heard that communication is 93% nonverbal. We’re now limiting our effectiveness even further with the increasing use of e-mail, and other digital mediums.
Communication in food service plays an extremely huge role in the kitchen. Something as simple as alerting your location, “CORNER!”, or that your carrying something hot, could make the difference in preventing injuries. It doesn’t stop there. Our ineffectiveness will also hinder our emotional intelligence.
Daniel Goleman recognizes emotional intelligence as a compilation of five soft skills: Self-Awareness, Self-Regulation, Motivation, Empathy, and Social-Skill. Again, the kitchen is a high-stress fast-paced environment. Emotional intelligent is always used to understand your team’s stress level. Stress is one of the cancers in workplace productivity.Tweet:

Misaligned Values
Competitive reality TV is a great demonstration. When the contestants are assigned to teams, there’s always one team (typically the targets for elimination) that has misaligned values. Someone wants to be challenged. Someone a wants to do exactly what the judges want. Another wants to take the easy route, and perform their best.
Values alignment is crucial to the effectiveness of teamwork.Tweet: Values are the foundation of both time-management and communication. They determine effective prioritization in time-management, and are the filter in which all things are communicated. A logistics company will value a timely service, but put little effort into presentation. I’m sure we’ve all experienced it. Getting a package that started as a box, but is now a ball.
Unfortunately, values realignment is the most difficult to change. It takes patience, consistency and diligence. I’m reminded of the scene in the movie “Miracle.” When coach Herb Brooks asks his team, “Who do you play for?.”

Do you recognize patterns? An employee that is always late. Someone who just doesn’t understand. A team where everyone is an All Star individually, but not as a team. What do you think are the most difficult negative patterns to transition from?

Leave your answers in the comments below and follow me on Twitter at @AlexGaskins