Depending on the social circles you find yourself in, the discussions about leadership are maturing. The awareness of the need for strong, capable leaders is abundantly clear. Great books have been written. Theory and practice have grown into reality.
Yet, as with anything in our universe, there is always something more. Effective leadership is not the end all, be all for corporate or community success. Why? Because leaders are finite. They come and they go.
However, an organization must sustain itself when its top notch, charismatic leader steps down or steps aside. Regardless of how beloved that leader may have been, what is left for the organization?
The answer is wealth development. In this context, wealth is not limited to financial security. No, here it means wealth creation within the talent pool. Wealth development is more than simple succession planning. Wealth development is applying a compounding affect.
Great leaders contribute to such a creation of talent wealth. They build up successors. They mentor protégés. They identify and encourage development of key members of the leadership team. They do this because they know about the critical need for talent wealth within the organization. When those new born leaders emerge, they do more, thus the compounding impact.
The best leaders are the first to realize that their individual ability to lead is far from sufficient to make the business entity hum. No, it takes a team or seriously talented and motivated people. Within this grouping, not everyone is a leader.
The good folks at HFI London diagram the notion of talent wealth creation this way:
You will recognize many of the key elements commonly included in organizational development and leadership development. Each slice on the outer ring is a routine focus for hiring consultants and subject matter experts. Yet, when you think of the final goal being creation of this core wealth, you can quickly see that if the outer efforts are not synchronized and harmonized, the end game will be less than optimal.
The outer disciplines cannot operate in silos so regularly seen in larger corporations. Rather they must be coordinated for better outcome.
Yes, solid leadership can influence just such an orchestrated effort. However, lack of more strategic vision for this goal will get you much less than you need.
If talent wealth is depleted or short cut, the organization is doomed to repeat cycles of rebuilding, restocking, and restoring talent. These cycles take years to complete. Is any of this sounding familiar yet?
For all of the attention paid to capital budgets, performance (both talent and stock price performance), and shareholder return, there is no metric quite so valuable in the long run as talent wealth accumulation.
The next time you find yourself in a budget debate about quarterly returns, ask whether the current plan does enough to maintain and even grow this kind of wealth. You might get laughed out of the room, but if you do, then maybe you want to find a company fixed on this value first.
If you would like to know more about maximizing your leadership development efforts either corporately or personally, call me to arrange a free introductory session.