Cultivate Leadership Talent

My wife has a large garden which produces an abundance of vegetables we eat throughout the year — we still have garlic, beans, hot peppers, and frozen veggies like peas, corn and zucchini, all from last year.  Recently, she has been planting seeds for this year’s garden.  Seeds are truly amazing.  And while they having the potential to grow and produce in abundance, they do best under the right conditions:  The good soil, regular watering, and removing weeds that interfere with healthy growth.

Similarly, planting the seeds for developing leaders requires cultivation for success.  Sending a person to a seminar or conference isn’t nearly enough.  What’s good leadership cultivation?  Providing the skills and knowledge needed to be successful at whatever the next level is for a person, having regular opportunities to learn and be challenged, and individual mentoring and coaching to get stronger and avoid pitfalls.

Make sure your “leadership garden” provides the right support and ongoing cultivation to grow the talent you need today and in the future.

Emphasize results, not deliverables

I don’t know where this came from, but I hear way too many people talking about deliverables.  Maybe it’s because a deliverable is better than lots of activity, but what you really want is results. Would you rather have a report, a study, a training session, a meeting, or do you want higher productivity, increased sales, more profits, less turnover, reduced costs, etc.?  And while we’re at it, are your employees rewarded for business results, or just actions?

What are your obstacles to growth?

What obstacles are in your growth path?

Most of my clients are pushing hard for growth right now.  If that’s you too, I have one question for you:  What are the most likely obstacles to get in your way of that growth?

The answers I hear most are internal factors:

  • We need a stronger performance-based culture
  • Not everyone is fully on-board with the strategy
  • Day to day issues keep getting in the way of growth initiatives
  • We’ve got problems with coordination and collaboration
  • We need stronger accountability
  • Our leadership skills need to be better at all levels
  • And so on.

These issues won’t get better on their own.  They need attention, good diagnosis as to cause, and solutions that accelerate achieving growth goals.

Those Self-Correcting Problems

Back in my college days I used to hitchhike the 300 miles to school.  One day I hitched a ride with a couple.  Enroute, the car’s engine made an odd sound for an hour, then stopped.  The driver turned to his companion and said, “It must have been a self-correcting problem.”

There are very, very few self-correcting problems in organizations.  The wise manager will address problems as they occur instead of hoping that they will go away.  In fact, the earlier they are addressed the more they can be positive and development oriented, instead of festering into something much bigger.