“What happens when organizations don’t think?”

When it comes to developing leaders, the first common mistake organizations make is not “thinking it through.” Great organizations take the time and spare no effort or expense in making sure leadership development is well planned and executed.

Organizations that get involved in leadership development without doing the necessary hard thinking exhibit the following symptoms:

First, there is no clear concept of what strategic leadership is and how it relates and functions with daily management activities.

Second, there is little understanding of the different levels of leadership, and the priorities, training, and execution strategy peculiar to each level.

Third, commitment and many times, even a casual interest for leadership development, is lacking at all levels.

Fourth, leadership education and training efforts often reflect the latest fads, not the components critical for success.

Fifth, everyone is looking for the quick fix, instant quality leadership. And when it’s not forthcoming, they look for another silver bullet.

Sixth, they seldom ask the right questions and demonstrate the patience to consider all possible solutions. “Ready, fire, aim” is the common strategy.

Seventh, they are vulnerable to the “experts” selling leadership solutions at a price rarely matching their practical value.

The second most common error non-thinking organizations make is the unconscious assumption that leadership development starts and stops with the senior leaders.

In most organizations, the lion’s share of available resources for leadership development is invested in the top leadership and management positions. Only the leftovers, usually very little, is invested in the front-line team members, those having the most contact with customers and members and doing the lion’s share of the work.

Smart thinking organizations consider all levels of leadership and the front-line team members when investing resources in leadership development. There is little value investing in your top leaders if their leadership skill is not reflected on the frontlines where the real battles are fought and won or lost.

“Thought leaders are men and women possessing ideas with the power to change the world. Their vision causes us to recalibrate ours. Their conviction stomps on the status quo and grinds it into the ground. Their passion for progress renders fear useless. They don’t subscribe to formulas neither do they create them.” Barry Feldman

Don’t limit your organizational thinking to your top leaders. Great ideas can come from anywhere, but only if you expect it. If you don’t celebrate ideas from your frontline team members, they will soon stop coming. Think about it!