How Knowing about ADHD Helps Us Understand the Value of Vertical Development

businesswoman looking distracted at her desk

Recently, my daughter was diagnosed as having ADHD-I. As my wife and I have been learning about ADHD-I, my wife has been wondering whether she has ADHD-I. In my research, I have found that ADHD-I commonly goes undiagnosed, and this is particularly the case for adult women. ADHD-I is attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder-inattentive. It is one of […]

What is Vertical Development?


Vertical development is new to the leadership and personal development space, but research on vertical development has been around for over 50 years in the field of developmental psychology.

Why Organizations Need Vertical Development

entrepreneur growth

Organizations are increasingly recognizing that the complexity of the world their leaders are facing exceed their abilities to effectively navigate this complexity. The consequence of this is that most leaders are operating at a leadership deficit, with consequences that include exhaustion, burnout, turnover, and poor decision making.

How Many Value Creators Do You Have In Your Organization?

16 3 vertical vs horizontal development

When I talk about the difference between horizontal and vertical development, I generally present the following figure as a way to depict their different foci: I was recently challenged by two colleagues to try to create a figure with horizontal development on the X axis and vertical development on the Y Axis like so: The […]

What Does an Elevated Leader Look Like?

grrowth persistent gardener

Elevated leaders are leaders who operate on a higher plane than most leaders. These leaders are positively transformational. In Good to Great, Jim Collins calls them “Level 5 Leaders.” In Multipliers, Liz Wiseman calls them just that: “Multipliers.” Often, the best leaders we can think of fall into this category. Historically, it is people Abraham […]

Vertical Development Example #4: Simon Sinek

Simon Sinek 1

Simon Sinek is a leadership guru that is almost a household name in the business world. This is largely because he has the third most viewed TED talk of all time and he is the author of five different business books (my favorite is The Infinite Game). What has allowed him to be so influential? […]

Trauma & Leadership – Part 3 – What are the Secondary Consequences of Trauma?

team at work

In this series, I am making a bold claim that I believe is key to transformationally elevating our leadership effectiveness. The claim is: Leadership ineffectiveness is rooted in leaders’ trauma If this is true, it has a very powerful implication: In order to help leaders significantly transform, we need to help them heal from their […]

The Value of Vertical Development to Leadership Development and Effectiveness

Tom Brady

Vertical development is as essential to leadership effectiveness as Pliability is essential to peak athletic performance What does it take to be the best player that has ever played in one’s sport? It takes consistent top-level performance over a long period of time. Look at Tom Brady. No one would ever say that he is […]

Vertical Development Should Come Before Horizontal Development

Operating System2

Last year, I did a study of 153 organization’s leadership development efforts. One of the things that was revealed was the topics that organizations most commonly focus on in their leadership development programs. Here are the results: Communication & Interpersonal Skills – 72% of organizations Developing Management Skills (e.g., planning & decision-making) – 54% of […]