In the current VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) world, business model lifecycles are getting shorter and unanticipated disruptions more frequent. To prosper in such an environment, businesses need leaders who can accelerate innovation and, at the same time, keep people focused on core values and purpose.
The problem is, conventional approaches to leadership development tend to produce leaders who can do one or the other, but not both. In the current business scenario, we need an approach to leadership development that produces leaders who can foster path-breaking innovation and experimentation while keeping the organization on an even keel. We need to produce outstanding individual performers who can be just as effective within a leadership team.
A recent study on conventional approaches to leadership development revealed significant trends across industries. As part of this study, senior executives responded to questions on their ‘leadership readiness’ to make effective decisions and solve critical business challenges. The good news is that organizations are cognizant of the need for their leaders to follow specific decision-making norms. In fact, many of their leadership development programs integrated individual leadership development with an “action-learning” project intended to address an organizational problem.
The challenging news is that a majority of respondents of the survey reported that their leadership development programs failed to produce measurable and sustainable results. They could identify only partial or one-time improvement in individual leadership effectiveness, with little evidence of sustained impact on organizational goals.
In today’s context, organizations need leaders who are driven by a shared purpose and common goals, and can work collaboratively to renew the organization’s competitive advantage and re-ignite growth. The ‘Purpose to Impact’ approach helps do just that with a dual agenda, develop critical skills in business leaders as well as drive business model innovation and growth. Such an approach has four differentiated elements that make it more impactful than a conventional leadership development initiative. These include:
Defining personal purpose and linking it to strategic priorities. The approach starts by helping define the leaders’ individual purpose and outline how it can be achieved in the work sphere by connecting it with the larger organizational purpose.
Learning to lead while solving critical business challenges. The approach encourages individuals and teams to resolve some of the organization’s biggest and most pressing challenges and allows them to tap their hidden potential.
Breakthrough solutions leading to innovative business models. It encourages individuals to collaborate as leadership teams, across internal silos and external stakeholders, to conceptualize innovative solutions for critical business problems, a significant part of the focus and resource allocation driven by breakthrough thinking.
Making significant personal and organizational impact. The approach helps not just unlock significant tangible value for the organization, but also ensure transformed individual behavior.
The ‘Purpose to Impact’ approach can enable an organization to build the right leadership behaviors and a culture of collaboration. It introduces a whole new approach to decision-making which makes it significantly more impactful as compared to conventional leadership development programs.
Global organizations have started to apply this approach with great success. Their experiences reaffirm the adage that the sum of the parts is greater than the individual components. This approach thus enables organizations to develop leadership teams while solving critical business challenges collaboratively and take innovative business models right through to execution.