As the challenges facing leaders continue to change, organizations need to update and align their leadership models, development strategy and suite offerings. We work with organizations to create or refresh their leadership frameworks and align their offerings to ensure greatest impact and efficiency.
Crafting a leadership framework that is appropriate for any organization requires both a collective agreement of how we define “great leadership” in service of the strategy as well as a data-based analysis of what enables and inhibits great leadership from happening today – the beliefs, behaviors, actions, processes, and ways of working that lead to strategically-relevant, values-consistent high performance.
Although often not explicitly defined, every organization has an approach to leadership that creates the culture and outcomes that the organization is getting today. We work with our clients to uncover root causes underlying trends in behavior which in turn helps us understand why they are getting the results they are getting today – so we can create those circumstances in the future or discover where there is the most leverage for change.
At the same time, while most leaders instinctively know what “great” leadership in their organization looks like, it is not always clear that everyone carries the same ideas in their heads. Exploring these ideas and creating a shared understanding of the experience they believe key stakeholders – employees, clients, analysts, and even the leaders themselves – expect out of great leadership is critical to building consistent leadership in the future. In working collaboratively to combine these insights with best-practice research, the result is a clear, shared leadership framework that can serve as a basis for a leadership development strategy.
Once we have a unified view of the leadership capabilities required to enable an organization to thrive given its context and aspirations, we engage with clients in constructing a learning architecture – a system of developmental activities and interventions designed to close the gap between where the organization is today and where it needs to be with respect to its critical leadership capabilities. A learning architecture can inform the process of talent management and help with filling the leadership pipeline.
The architecture answers these questions:
- Who is to be developed? – Any groups of individuals within an organization who are subject to developmental activities: senior leadership; mid-level managers, front-line managers, high potentials, others, or all of the above
- What do they need to know, do and believe differently? – Individual and organizational capabilities needed to attain the organization’s objectives
- How will it be accomplished? – Programs, job rotations, coaching, stretch assignments, etc.
An up-to-date learning architecture helps eliminate redundancies and close critical gaps in capabilities. It can optimize spending of time and money, and ensure that development is directly tied to business outcomes.
How can Duke CE Help?
The exact process for developing a new learning architecture or revising an existing one will vary depending on client needs, but six steps are typically involved.
- Understand the Context– What business pressures does the organization face? What is its strategy? What organizational capabilities are needed to execute the strategy? What are its values?
- Clarify Scope and Priorities– What are the guiding principles, mandate, scope, and team for this Learning Architecture project?
- Inform and Align on Destination– What will the learning architecture look like for this organization? What will each of us (client and Duke CE) bring to the table in a thought partnership to reach that destination? Are we aligned around the work to be done?
- Evaluate What Exists– Which current offerings and approaches are strategic and important now? Which are focused on the desired destination? What is working and what isn’t? What is right for this culture? What are the areas of leverage?
- Recommend Solution– What needs to be changed? What needs to be added or bolstered? What needs to be cut or replaced? Craft a learning architecture and, as desired, a phased approach to implementing it.
- Measure Results– What specific measures can gauge the impact of the recommendations once implemented? What business and behavioral changes are expected?
In addition to crafting a plan for building the leadership capabilities critical to an organization’s success, creating a leadership architecture can also help develop the capabilities of internal learning and development teams. While Duke CE can do all the work, our preferred model is to create a project team where we work side-by-side in partnership with our clients so that once the initial architecture is created, internal staff know the process and can keep the architecture up-to-date as strategic priorities change. Thus a one-time investment can have long lasting impact in creating a sustainable learning culture within your organization.