The revolution required in leadership mindsets: how can we win the development battle?

In a previous blog, we wrote that “we need a revolution in leadership mindsets to adjust to today’s business context”. As pointed out in the Henley Business School Global Research Report (entitled –coincidentally- “Tomorrow’s Leadership and the Necessary Revolution in Today’s Leadership Development”) achieving this mindset requires leaders to recognise that to keep pace with change they must “Build your development as a parallel track running alongside your daily work as a leader, so you are a ‘constant leader learner’”.


Many leaders we come across agree with this idea notionally, but few truly grasp it. For example: “Business is so challenging, we are learning from this.” Or, “We must restructure / plan our transformation first, then put in some development programmes.’


How do we get the message across that learning from experience does not happen by osmosis but through structure, feedback, reflection and support? Otherwise it is hard to synthesise what you have learned and how to transfer this to other situations. This is particularly the case with soft skills. You often don’t know what you do well, until someone points it out, or helps you reflect on it.


The second challenge is to get leaders to truly understand that development must come before transformation, otherwise people are always struggling to keep up. Moreover, in today’s context, transformation is not a one-off event that is planned by the single ‘heroic’ leader/s at the top but must be a collective, collaborative experience that engages and empowers everyone.

To achieve business transformation requires development that focuses on the future to run alongside the present. The future must be part of the business conversation. When people discuss the future, they start thinking about how to develop towards this, and this is where plenty of learning and development that targets specific challenges, or competencies is important. Experiential learning through business simulation that takes you out of your usual context, enables you to try out new experiences, and new skills before doing them for real when the stakes are much higher.


What is most clear to us here at The Scala Group is that our role as coaches and advisors is to help leaders understand what continuous learning and development truly represents, and the benefits it brings.


A revolution is required in leadership mindsets – and for that to happen in turn requires a revolution in the way they are assessed and developed. Come and talk to us – and join the revolution.


The Scala Group combines world-class consultancy & Pinsight™ technology for better leadership hires, talent reviews & impactful leadership development. Click here to find out more

©Copyright Janice Caplan 13/7/17