The Disconnect - Leadership Diagnostics and Development
Business focused architecture that should guide both, diagnostic as well as development, not separately, but one flowing into the other
Would you visit a hospital to get cured knowing that 60% of its cures were in fact, ineffective? Despite the facility having a strong team of doctors and the best of equipment and tools available to diagnose what’s wrong. Alternatively, what if you spent your precious money on a cure but didn’t know what was wrong in the first place.
Scary isn’t it?
Yet, that is exactly what research shows, is happening in organisations. 60% of all developmental inputs by Indian corporations have been ineffective say our leaders (reference, DDI GLF 2014). Not just that, but one third of all HR leaders feel their organizations don’t have confidence in their leadership despite flushing in inordinate amounts of money into developmental and other talent efforts.
So what is going wrong? What are we missing exactly? Are we not diagnosing things correctly (like the hospital above)? Or is it the ‘cure’ (development initiatives) that’s lacking?
More and more, as we work across myriad organisations, we are finding that it is in fact, both.
It’s the duo of diagnosis and development. And it is the lack of integration thereof, between the two that is leading more and more companies down this rabbit hole. To understand this disconnect more, let us spend a minute to understand how organizations are structured functionally to address talent and development.
In any reasonably large or medium sized organization in India (and perhaps elsewhere) nowadays, we have seen a number of HR divisions co-existing seemingly seamlessly. One is tasked with the developmental efforts. Another for recruitment & selection. Yet another for talent management (often charged with running and planning selection, promotions and sometimes, succession). Each has their budgets, directives, targets. Each one is talking to multiple players internally across the organization and to multiple partners, consultants and customers externally as well. Each one is following an agenda that looks merged, but in fact, may not be; leading to several disconnects and dissipated energies that are not synergistic at the end of the day.
Whatever the reason – different disciplines, siloed structures – the fact is that there is a missed opportunity to a higher pay-off.
The good news however, is that company leaders are now recognizing this fact and one hand is talking to the other and rooting this in the business strategy of an organization. From there, they are realizing that it is this business focused architecture that should guide both, diagnostic as well as development, not separately, but one flowing into the other.
This same architecture will also guide what amount of diagnosis is required for specific end purposes and levels. For instance, a diagnosis for a top level leader position will require depth and rigour as opposed to a cadre targeted initiative aimed at just raising awareness or broad skills. Similarly, then the development initiatives will require similar approaches.
When thinking about the integration of assessment and development, the first 2 questions to be considered are, “What’s the purpose of this assessment?” and “How will the data be used?”
The answer should lie in how the data will be used, and also in the degree of the development effort’s rigor required thereafter. Development aimed at making incremental improvements to a general set of skills may warrant a light diagnostic tool or tools, whereas deeper transformational leadership development will require the precision of higher-quality, more in-depth diagnostic tools such as Acceleration Centers perhaps.
Diagnostic and development systems and structures created separately and/or at different times reactively can lead to disconnects that cause confusion, consume resources, and require reverse engineering of some of the designs previously put in place. We have all seen this at some point or the other. Ultimately, the goal of development in talent management is to grow talent to propel leader and executive readiness. The business and its leaders deserve an efficient and well-planned and thought-through framework that talks to one another don’t you agree?
Eventually, wouldn’t you also like to walk into your local diagnostic centre knowing that you are not just going to be put through various tests and machineries that may or may not address your problem in a targeted, efficient and resourceful manner but one that eventually assures a cure?
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