Leadership Development – Lesson 1: Beyond the Brief

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Leadership Development – Lesson 1: Beyond the Brief

In this 4-part series I will share some lessons learnt while assisting organisations to tap into the greatest potential of their leaders.


Navigating and understanding the world of leadership development strategies and approaches can be a minefield at worst and confusing at best. A well-designed and facilitated journey for Leadership Development can have a life-changing impact on the leaders, their teams and the entire business.


With a myriad of leadership content, programs and processes available, it’s easy to be overwhelmed and lose focus on the essence of leadership development – Developing the Leader.


The Lesson


One of my most valuable lessons learned is: Looking beyond the brief – understanding the stated need. When leadership development goes beyond ticking the box, outcomes and impact takes centre stage.


Having worked with experienced and inexperienced clients across a wide spectrum of industries and organisations, I have learned a few valuable lessons, most of them repeatedly. The most effective and rewarding engagements with clients have been when:


  1. Leadership development is viewed as a core component of the wider organisational strategy.
  2. The internal champion of the process have complete buy-in and commitment from executives, senior management and most importantly, the leaders who will participate in, and be impacted by the process.
  3. The primary stakeholder (usually Human Resources Executive) is a key partner during every phase of the process namely, the needs analysis, design and execution phases. This ensures that dedicated individuals from both the client and my side of the partnership are assigned as part of the project and process team for the duration of the engagement journey.
  4. A core element of the leadership development process is sustainability and visible changes in behaviour. It may sound simple and obvious, but beginning with the end in mind is the key to long-term success demonstrable ROI.


So, what does beyond the brief mean in the context of client engagement?

  1. Begin with the end in mind. What will success look and feel like.
  2. Partnership and joint accountability.
  3. Understanding that always without exception, what the client needs trumps what I offer. The leader as participant and consumer is KING.


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