I recently surveyed 153 organizations to determine the focus and quality of their current leadership development efforts and effectiveness.

The individuals that responded to this survey are all involved in their organization’s leadership development efforts, with the majority of them being in the human resources function.

And, the organizations range from small to giant with the majority falling in the broad range of 100-5,000.

What I found is really interesting! But, I’m a data junkie.

Overall

Let me start at the 10,000-foot view.

  • 33% agreed or strongly agreed that their organization’s leadership development efforts are effective
  • 30% somewhat agreed that their organization’s leadership development efforts are effective
  • 37% did not agree that their organization’s leadership development efforts are effective

Over 1 in 3 organizations state that they are not effective at developing their leaders, and 2 in 3 cannot fully agree that they are effective at developing their leaders.

That may not surprise you, but the reality of those numbers is depressing.

Prioritizing Leadership Development

I looked at this in two ways.

Current Priority

First, I asked if leadership development is a current priority.

  • 36% of organizations state that developing leaders is a high priority
  • 46% of organizations state that developing leaders is a moderate priority
  • 17% of organizations state that developing leaders is a low priority
  • 1% of organizations state that developing leaders is not a priority at all

If we believe the current and future success of an organization rests on its current and future leaders (and the decisions they make), these statistics suggest that many organizations are handcuffing themselves to mediocrity, at best.

Ideal Priority

Next, I asked if they felt they needed to place any greater priority on leadership development.

  • 40% of organizations state that they need to place significantly greater priority on leadership development
  • 35% of organizations state that they need to place slightly greater priority on leadership development
  • 25% of organizations state that they place the right amount of priority on leadership development

This means 75% of organizations are underinvesting in their leadership development, with 40% are significantly underinvesting.

Focal Topics for Leadership Development

Finally, I asked what topics they focus on when developing their leaders.

First, let me present the degree to which the organizations stated that they focused on different topics (not a complete list):

Now, let me present the degree to which the organizations agreed or strongly agreed that they were effective at developing their leaders based upon whether or not they covered that topic:

It appears that traditional topics for leadership development are not resulting in effective leadership development

But, hopefully, your attention goes to the same place as mine: The topic that appears to be associated with the most effective leadership development is mindsets. Yet, only 1 in 8 companies state that they focus on mindsets.

In fact, I compared the organizations that focus on mindsets and those that don’t, and here is what I found:

This leads me to draw the conclusion: Organizations that focus on mindsets are more than twice as effective at developing their leaders than those who do not.

Conclusion

When I look over this data, my big takeaways are:

  • Organizations’ leadership development efforts are generally not very effective
  • Organizations generally need to place greater focus on leadership development
  • If organizations want to enhance the effectiveness of their leadership development efforts, they need to focus on mindsets.

If you would like to add mindsets to your leadership development work, I would love to help you!

Click here to connect with me

Additional Info

  • There weren’t clear trends across organizational size. The only one that appeared at least somewhat meaningful was:
    • 50% of organizations over 50,000 employees focus on emotional intelligence
    • Only 34% of organization under 50,000 employees focus on emotional intelligence