3m and General Physics Make Leadership Count Innovative Approaches to Leadership Development

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3M and General Physics make leadership count

Innovative approaches to leadership development


ccording to a survey carried out on a total of 756 CEOs in 2002 by The Center for Creative Leadership and Chief Executive Magazine, leadership development has been hailed as a critical component of competitive advantage.

While this may not come as much of a shock to some organizations, the surprising fact is that despite widespread acceptance of the importance of nurturing leadership talent amongst today's business leaders, many admit to having a poor strategy for making it happen. This is undoubtedly a major problem, for as businesses continue to be challenged by developments in technology, customer demographics, market conditions and environmental threats, an organization's fortunes will increasingly rest on the abilities of its leaders.

Key challenges

It is of course relatively straightforward to sit on the sidelines and commentate on what should be done and for what reasons. However, in practice the working environment is more often than not an intricately complex web of interdependent components that require a great deal of consideration and planning. Because of leadership development's importance, it makes this planning stage all the more vital. The survey of chief executives brought out four key areas of particular concern: J Setting direction ± without a clearly de®ned and communicated approach, an organization is likely to drift; almost certainly failing to achieve its true potential. Therefore setting direction is a key undertaking of the CEO and senior management team. At companies such as General Electric the leadership culture ¯ows throughout the organization at all levels meaning that managers know exactly where they stand and what is required of them if they wish to progress. J Gaining commitment ± it is not suf®cient merely to have a senior management team that is au fait with the challenges of leadership. The system will only take off when...