Understanding of the Impact of Leadership Development

by Peter Sørensen, M.A., Ph.D., Aalborg University and University College Lillebaelt

Leadership development is big business. It is estimated to be a $14 billion industry in the United States. In my country, Denmark, with approximately 5.7 million people, the amount spent on adult continuing education, which includes leadership development, is estimated to be $4.5 billion. That’s a lot of money. But the size of the investment notwithstanding, it has been pointed out that the programs and activities devoted to leadership development are often based on little more than anecdotes, personal experience, and guesses about what might be effective—for the individual and for the organization. In other words, leadership development can too often be an act of blind faith.

That’s why the work devoted to the evaluation of leadership development is so important. And much has been learned from it—about the impact of different development programs (from one-day, informal courses to years-long formal programs) and about different techniques (such as classic lectures, action learning, feedback, self-study, and real-life simulations). However, because leadership development is a multidimensional and complex activity, much more needs to be done. And given the daunting challenges of assessing its impact, the evaluation effort needs to draw on every possible source of knowledge.

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Endurance Leadership Step 1: Set a Powerful and Sticky Goal

by Ann Bowers-Evangelista, Psy.D., MBA

As an executive coach, I often hear well-intended executives like Bob say things like, “I need to be a better listener. I need to be more patient with people.” When asked why, Bob says he knows it is the right thing to do, or he’s received feedback about improving his listening. When pressed on how to do this, Bob says, “I just need to be more mindful. I need to tell myself to listen more.” Often several months later, nothing has changed; Bob is still described as a hothead or a know-it-all who doesn’t take time for people.

Why? Because this goal isn’t powerful to Bob. It doesn’t compel him to change from current state. It also isn’t “sticky” – it doesn’t have enough upside to help him gut it out when things get dicey. Sound familiar, like a New Year’s Resolution you have made, abandoned by mid-January?

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Executive Coaching and Age: Does it Make a Difference?

Eric, 35, was elated to be selected for executive coaching. A high potential, this told him that he was being groomed for ascendance. He used the coaching well. He learned to delegate deeply and communicate motivating messages to his team. He still had the more fundamental issue of perfectionism, however, that he did not address, even though it could hold him back in the long run. 

Why? That was the question we set out to answer.

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Big Data and the Trump Shocker

by Rob Kaiser, Editor, Consulting Psychology Journal

The polls, pols, and pundits all got it wrong—and the world was stunned when Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton. People are still reeling; from the talking heads on TV to the regulars at the coffee shop to onlookers around the globe, the question is, “How did this happen?”

Even, the astonishingly accurate forecasting website created by the great data scientist, Nate Silver, had Hillary at 71% for the win on the eve of Election Day. 538 is unique in that it is not a poll—it is an aggregator that combines results from hundreds of polls and weighs them by certain factors like quality. By averaging so many individual polls, it attempts to overcome the imperfections of each to arrive at a less biased and more reliable prediction.

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How Do Professional Stereotypes Affect You?

by Rebecca Turner, PhD, Fellow, Society of Consulting Psychology

Let’s talk about stereotypes we hold about different occupational groups and professions. Would you rather have lunch with a gardener, an executive, a genetics counselor or an investment banker? The images start to roll as we think about this possibility. Those in financial services have had their reputations tarnished since the financial crisis, as dramatized by the 2015 Academy Award-winning film The Big Short. Yet, individual people in financial services sometimes feel they have been personally held accountable for things they had nothing to do with. Dave Martin wrote in American Banker (May 5, 2015) about what he believed were unfair stereotypes, “It’s heartening that the bankers I meet almost always defy persistent stereotypes about what the industry is and the types of people who populate it…Banking isn’t the ‘exclusive old guys country club’ that many folks still consider it to be.”

A famous journalist named Walter Lippmann coined the term “stereotype” in 1922. He defined stereotypes as “the little pictures we carry around inside our heads.” Holding a stereotype is a way of simplifying how we look at the world. In our busy lives, this process allows us to take in a lot of complex information about another person and boil it down to a quick perception, conclusion or decision: “I trust him”, “I want to invest my money with her”, “This is someone I need to get to know” or “He will go far.” We can hold stereotypes about absolutely anything that we can classify or categorize. Once the stereotype is active in our minds it evokes a lot of associations, beliefs and feelings.

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The Perils of Hiring a CEO for Culture Fit

by Rob Kaiser, President, Kaiser Leadership Solutions, Member, Division 13

It is taken as an article of faith in the search business that a strong CEO candidate needs to mesh with the prevailing culture. It sure sounds like common sense: who would doubt that a new CEO needs to share the company’s core values and get along with other senior managers?

Except, this conventional wisdom usually leads to lower corporate performance according to recent research published in the June edition of the Journal of Applied Psychology. In a study of 114 CEOs in the high tech industry, a global team of researchers led by Chad Hartnell found that it is actually the CEOs whose styles are different from the existing company culture who get better results (as measured by Return on Assets; ROA).

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Exploring Virtue-Based Leadership

A Webinar presented by Larry Newton, PhD

September 22, 7-8:30 PM EST, 1.5 CE Credits

$50 SCP Members

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