How to develop a high-impact leadership strategy

L&D requires a more strategic approach in a post-pandemic world

How to develop a high-impact leadership strategy

Thanks to the pandemic, the world of work is accelerating faster than ever and as a result, businesses require leaders who can keep up.

That’s why in a post-pandemic world, learning and development plays a crucial role in enabling decision makers to react to a changing market at speed. HRD’s Learning and Development Summit, being held virtually later this year, will bring some of Australia’s top practitioners together to share their insight and experience after another tumultuous year.

Speaker Lorraine Salloum, Achieve Australia’s People, Performance & Culture executive, will share her take on how to develop a high-impact leadership strategy. Speaking to HRD, Salloum said organisations must move away from the individual focus of leadership development, thinking instead about leadership strategy to drive organisational performance collectively.

“In my view, businesses should be thinking leadership strategy and specifically, how they build the capability and strength across their leadership cohort,” she said.

“Leadership strategy looks at the organisational level and it’s more than just the capability in place. It's about building high impact teams that deliver because you can have really high-performing individuals, but collectively they may not deliver or drive maximum organisation performance outcomes.”

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Historically, the focus within L&D has tended to centre on crafting individual leadership mindsets and capability. But Salloum said where some practitioners are missing out is by looking at the structure, narrative and team building within the leadership team. It’s the idea that each leader is a piece of the leadership puzzle, bringing their own strengths and weaknesses. Without seeking a broader view of the group’s combined capabilities and maximising team strengths, L&D may not drive the best outcomes.

“In my view, you can do a whole heap of work in the leadership capabilities space, which is predominantly where leadership development seeds, but not drive organisational performance in any way because you haven't looked at the leadership team, the narrative, and how decision making is done,” Salloum said.

So how do you go about designing a successful leadership strategy? As well as considering the sum of the parts, rather than solely individual capability, Salloum said it’s about defining the business outcomes you are aiming to achieve and then working backwards.

After identifying the desired outcome, practitioners should ask what behaviours do leaders need to achieve those outcomes? And from there, what learning and development experience should we deliver to foster those behaviours? By taking an outcome-focused approach, leadership strategy is better aligned with organisational performance and ultimately, results.

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Looking back at how businesses have responded to the pandemic, Salloum said those focused on outcomes, developing agile leaders, and capability at a team level have come out on top.

“In my view, the organisations that have fared well in these interesting times have done so because of their ability to come together and use the strengths of their people to deliver high impact leadership as a team, not as individuals, and they're the ones that have survived, and even thrived, during the pandemic,” she said.

“Whereas the ones that have had a leadership strategy that is purely around leadership development from an individual perspective are the ones that have struggled the most.”

After the disruption of the last 18 months, results are what many business leaders are now focused on. Driving growth and recovery is a key priority as Australia and New Zealand prepare to reopen to the rest of the world. To hear more from top L&D practitioners like Lorraine Salloum at this year’s Learning and Development Summit, click here to view the full event agenda and register for your spot.

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