Connecting the Dots — Not a Game for Kids


The Fifth Best Practice of Leadership Development (LD): Integrate LD With Other Talent Processes

Through my recent blog posts, we’ve been discussing the best practices of leadership development.  Today, we are ready to review the fifth (of six) best practice:  integrate leadership development with other talent processes.

Leadership development does not happen in a vacuum; it is an integral part of a whole which we know to be talent management—the integrated set of talent processes that touch an employee from the time of hire to the time of retire, including (but not limited to) competency management, performance management and succession management.  In fact, perhaps the most significant, overarching practice in leader development is the pressure and need to organize leader development activities and initiatives in a connected and integrated fashion with other talent processes. In a 2004 Pepperdine University study, 69 percent of respondents noted that an integrated approach to leader development was the leading priority of their learning and development function. This result replicated Pepperdine’s earlier 2000 study as well. Pepperdine’s results are indicated yet again in our 2008 and 2010 high-impact leadership development research which reveals that mature leadership development organizations (what we call Level 4) have recognized the significance of integration and have a much higher level of integration between leadership development and other talent management processes:  

 From Bersin & Associates 2008 High-Impact Leadership Development research

How Are Companies Integrating Leadership Development With Other Talent Processes?

While the integration between leadership development and competency management/performance management/succession management is strongest, all talent processes for assessing and developing leaders need to feed one another, and conversely, leader development feeds each of the other talent processes. In the pictures that follow, you can see examples of how high-impact companies leverage leadership development to feed each talent process, and how they connect each talent process to feed leadership development.


What’s The Benefit of Integrating Leadership Development With Other Talent Processes?

Integrating leadership development with a company’s talent processes, particularly competency management, performance management, succession planning and career development processes has key benefits:

·         Creates a leadership profile to use for high-potential development, succession planning, performance management and compensation decisions;

·         Enables and encourages top management to “walk the talk” in driving competency-based initiatives and increasing credibility throughout the organization;

·         Provides high-potential leaders with a clear understanding of their development paths going forward;

·         Ensures that the development budget is targeted for leaders at all levels;

·         Promotes a common language and an environment in which employees know what to expect from their managers;

·         Establishes career transition possibilities, including lateral mobility;

·         Reinforces the company’s commitment to investing in people, communicating what is expected and providing a means to achieve expectations;

·         Facilitates recruitment of top candidates who seek an environment conducive to career growth and development, as well as upward and lateral mobility; and

·         Promotes internal development which, over the long run, is cost-effective – and which enhances employee and leader morale, engagement and retention.

Where To Start?

So, while the promise of integrated talent management is great –particularly leadership development with other talent processes– the details can be daunting. In fact in our 2008 research, we found that although most organizations have multiple talent management processes in place, few had them integrated.  What does it take to get LD integrated with performance management? With succession management? What information has to flow between the processes? What does each process contribute and take from the other?

To derive your answers, I suggest you start with a simple input-output-assumption framework. In other words, keep it simple and simply list LD and each talent process. For LD and each of the other processes, define the input information required, the output information and the assumptions you are making. For example, the LD process provides development activity data for succession planning purposes.  The result of your input-output-assumption exercise will be a framework, or blueprint, that focuses on the integration points between LD and the other talent processes and maps out how each process needs to work to be fully connected and therefore most effective.  An added benefit to this process is a preliminary set of technology requirements for your talent management platform. And the real value of this approach is that it enables an organization to close the gap between their current and desired states of their integrated talent strategy—a strategy that drives the greatest amount of business impact.

Please share with me your stories of success, or challenge, or both, as you are building or have built your integrated roadmap. 

Next time, we’ll review the last best practice of high-impact leadership development – applying targeted solutions of development for each leader level. 

Until then……..

Andrea Derler

Andrea Derler, Ph.D., joined Bersin by Deloitte in March 2015 and leads the Leadership & Succession Management research practice. She brings international work experience as leadership trainer & coach and a solid academic background to this role. Prior to joining Bersin, she collaborated closely with organizations in the USA as well as Europe in order to pursue practice-oriented leadership research. Andrea studied international management, organizational culture and integral leadership and facilitated leadership development efforts in a variety of industries. She holds a doctoral degree in Economics (Leadership & Organization), and a Master’s degree in Philosophy. Her work about leaders’ Ideal Employee recently received wide-spread media attention in Europe and was published in the Leadership & Organization Development Journal

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