Wayne Gretzky’s legendary quote about missing 100 percent of the shots you don’t take is only half the story in the world of leadership development. Indeed, there are far too many employees taking the shots, missing them, and then blaming the ice, the hockey stick, and even the goal itself. 

There has to be a better way to transform leaders, right? 

In Developing World Class Leaders: The Ultimate Guide to Leadership Development, Chapter 4 covers this very point. It isn’t enough to give feedback, or even to act on the feedback. We have to get deeper and delve into the competencies of leadership development. 

Setting the Stage for Fluidity

It is hard to imagine that some of the world’s greatest wonders are reduced to their current size by something as simple as water. But water is the easiest way to see fluidity in motion: water continues to keep moving, reshaping even the toughest rock over time. 

We can capture that fluidity for ourselves in the workplace, whether we’re talking about developing entry-level employees or helping mid and senior-level employees bring their best skills to the table. 

A few questions naturally guide this fluid path:

  • What are the milestones along the leadership path, and what do they look like from the perspective of the leader-in-training? 
  • What are the core competencies underpinning those milestones, and what does the leader-in-training excel at already? How can we address the opportunities with dignity, grace, and empathy?
  • How can we monitor and refine the leadership plan in ways that allow for feedback from the party taking the journey in the first place? 
  • Where do we want to go as an organization, and how can we build in buy-in naturally? 

It is easy to observe the underlying theme here: connection, empathy, enthusiasm, and two-way transparency are all part and parcel of the leadership development experience. Getting humans motivated requires truly hearing what they have to say.

Fluidity demands a new way of thinking, but isn’t that the entire point of leadership development? If the old way was the best way, there would never be any need for books on building better leaders at all. 


Giving Ample Time to Refine Competencies

A common trap that many companies fall into when it comes to trying to refine leadership development is that they do not give ample time to fix the very competencies that they need for better leadership.

This can take on many forms, from setting aside the time but not making it accessible all the way up to having an unrealistic deadline for full transformation. 

Incremental change has to be not just defined but celebrated as part of the process in the greater world of leadership development. Companies have to truly invest in their employees, and isn’t time the greatest investment of all? 

Ample time to refine core and stretch competencies isn’t a gift companies are giving employees but an investment that communicates how important the employees are to the greater mission of the company. Nothing moves forward until employees feel encouraged, celebrated, motivated, and given proper time to see exactly where the journey can lead.


All Development Pivots Eventually

Companies with existing leadership development programs will often struggle with the connection between time, strategic intent, core competencies, and leadership as a whole. The intersection of all of these different points is often overwhelming. 

Know this: all development pivots eventually. This is absolutely the case in software development, where early user feedback and even the constraints of the technology itself requires a new direction. 

This is also the case in leadership development. If anything, it is actually more pronounced in the world of leadership development because this is the business of people, who are as varied as the pebbles on a beach. 

Dive Into Competency Refinement With Developing World Class Leaders: The Ultimate Guide to Leadership Development

The assessment of leaders-in-training is only a starting point. In Developing World Class Leaders: The Ultimate Guide to Leadership Development, the connection between competency building and leadership development is not only explored but strengthened through specific actions that not only drive the conversation forward but also empower leaders at every level in the organization. 

Check out the book store and order a copy of Developing World Class Leaders: The Ultimate Guide to Leadership Development today.

To receive a copy of our Leadership Competency Inventory, complete with 64 competencies, just send an email

Growth usually takes on one of two very distinct pathways: a linear path and an exponential one. The latter sounds great, right? Just pull a few levers and watch your organization reap the benefits of exponential growth, making all of your dreams come true. Wait till that next quarterly review, you’ll show them you mean business!

Except that isn’t the entire story, and consistent leadership development results are better than exponential growth that isn’t sustainable.

So why talk about exponential growth in the domain of creating better leaders in the workplace? Well, because it never hurts to have something to aspire to. It never hurts to see what can indeed happen when consistent action is scaled out. That’s the key to making leadership development a potent component in today’s fast paced business environment.

What does feedback really mean? We talk about feedback, but we know that not all feedback is created equal. Feedback should begin with empathy, which is truly understanding the other person's perspective. From there, we want to come forward with evidence that backs up the statements we're going to make to that person. Direct, professional, and straightforward is the name of the game here.

Feedback and accountability go hand in hand within the world of strategically assessing leadership strengths and weaknesses.

What Comprehensive Feedback Isn't

Sometimes it's important to highlight what something isn't before we can really start visualizing what it is constructively. If you want to build or even transform current feedback and accountability processes, here's what to avoid most:

  • Relying on one assessment. There is no perfect assessment, and it's critical to avoid idolizing any assessment as the One True Measure of performance

  • Keeping resources too narrow. This isn't about trying to use as few resources as possible. Pull out all of the tools and see what's reasonable in terms of the specific leader being refined for greater opportunities (the ultimate goal)

  • Don't settle for just covering strengths and weaknesses in terms of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Full insight requires full analysis; KPIs are just a shortcut.

Collecting quantitative data is important, but don’t skip the opportunities to collect qualitative data along the way as well. For example,

Breaking Down Strategic Leadership Assessment - The Best Path Forward for Growth

In order to get the growth needed to stay competitive, it's time to go back to the drawing board. What does strategic leadership assessment look like in action? Well, the important point is that it begins with realizing the end goal: you're getting insight into an individual's makeup and identifying what their true strengths and weaknesses are. We're going back to the 3D Leadership model as one of the key foundational points of this plan.

Staying the Course

Motivation is a big topic in the business world because we're used to watching people quit. Why do people quit before they've reached the finish line? Sometimes it's a matter of not being able to visualize the end. Or perhaps it's not having enough milestones to reflect upon as they move deeper into their journey. Not everyone will finish their leadership development plan, or approach it with enthusiasm.

Reassurance isn't a bad thing, and it can help bolster morale to the point where employees buy back in. For entry-level employees, leadership development can feel impossible because they're starting their journey with a lot to cover. For the more seasoned leader, development often takes a "been there, done that" feeling.

Dive Deeper Into Refinement With Developing World Class Leaders: The Ultimate Guide to Leadership Development

Digging into the roots of better leadership development isn’t an easy journey. Yet it is absolutely essential for companies of all sizes.

Did you miss the deep dive on assessments? Check out the Strategic View of Hiring podcast episode, Exploring the World of Assessments.

Check out the book store and order a copy of Developing World Class Leaders: The Ultimate Guide to Leadership Development today.

To receive a copy of our Leadership Competency Inventory, complete with 64 competencies, just send an email.