leadership development works!

Do you have a leader development plan in place in your organization? If not, you need to and soon.

First of all – it works. See the graph below from the Chief Learning Officer magazine. It is in an article by William C. Byham

One of the biggest findings of the study was, contrary to the negativity, leadership development really does work: 82 percent of managers, peers and direct reports of people trained cited higher frequency of observed positive leadership behaviors among leaders after they had completed development courses.












Time and again, the research shows that investing into the people of our organizations pays dividends from happier employees, stronger organizational culture, happier customers, to higher profits, and long-term sustainability. Yet, either we don’t ever get around to investing in the people we lead or it is the first thing that is cut if we get busy or try to cut costs.

Why do we do this? Doesn’t make sense to me.




Are You Prepared?

What are you doing to prepare the next generation of leaders for your organization?  If you are a next generation leader, what are you doing to prepare yourself?

Last week, I had the privilege of traveling to my home state to speak to the Mississippi Community College Leadership Academy (MCCLA) on the subject of strategic planning.

The MCCLA was developed in 2009 by Dr. Howell Garner of the MS Community College Foundation in order to start developing the next generation of leaders for the community colleges of Mississippi. They take from 30 – 40 of the young leaders, both administrators and academicians, and have three to four two-day sessions a year across the state with a range of speakers on various topics. Additionally, they are assigned various readings and projects. This is a great idea.

The MCCLA is an effort to “deepen the bench” of future leaders of the MS Community Colleges and a wise move in my opinion.

My question, is what are you doing to prepare your organization for the future? What are you doing to prepare yourself for the future?

Hope it is a great week for you!

Three Questions to Improve Your Performance

We all want to improve and one of the best ways to improve is through good feedback from those we work with on a regular basis especially those that support us.  At times we may ask open ended questions such as “How am I doing?” which really don’t help very much.

Thomas DeLong writes in the Harvard Business Review blog about the SKS method.  It is simply these three questions:

  1. What should I stop doing?
  2. What should I keep doing?
  3. What should I start doing?

The SKS also counteracts our tendency to avoid seeking out other people’s opinions of our attitudes and behaviors. The SKS process breaks the hold our illusions have on us.

He also recommends using the following questions to help you identify the behaviors that are keeping you stuck and the behaviors that will help you move in new directions:


  • Are you hearing that you should quit doing something that you feel is a skill or strength?
  • Is your first response that quitting this behavior will have catastrophic consequences?
  • On reflection, is it possible that you’ve fallen into a behavioral rut? If you stop doing one thing, might you have an opportunity to try something new and different?


  • Is there something you’re doing right that people feel you should do more of?
  • Have you been dismissive of this particular behavior or skill for some reason?
  • What might happen if you used this “keep” more? How might it impact your effectiveness and satisfaction with your job?


  • Are people recommending you do something that feels foreign or scary?
  • What about it makes you anxious? Is it because you are afraid of looking like you don’t know what you’re doing?
  • Why are people suggesting you start doing this new thing? What benefits do they feel will accrue to you, your group, or your organization?

Some good questions – click here to read the entire article.

Blessings on your weekend!

Being Excellent at Anything

Well, actually the title is a little overstated.  I took piano lessons for ten years and was fairly diligent in my practice, yet was mediocre on the piano at best (and that is a generous statement!).  I think it has something to do with no sense of rhythm.

Six Keys to Being Excellent at Anything” is an article on the Harvard Business Review blog site written by Tony Schwartz.  Tony has done a great deal of research into improving performance and has found “that it’s possible to build any given skill or capacity in the same systematic way we do a muscle: push past your comfort zone, and then rest.”

Tony has laid out “six keys” to achieving excellence:

1. Pursue what you love

2. Do the hardest work first

3. Practice intensely

4. Seek expert feedback in intermittent doses – The simpler and more precise the feedback, the more equipped you are to make adjustments.

5. Take regular renewal breaks – Relaxing after intense effort not only provides an opportunity to rejuvenate, but also to metabolize and embed learning.

6. Ritualize practice – Will and discipline are wildly overrated. The best way to insure you’ll take on difficult tasks is to ritualize them

For me the word “anything” is a bit of a stretch, but what Tony is recommending above seems to be a great way to improve our performance in many areas of our lives.

Grace and peace,


Are Your Leaders Teaching the Next Generation of Leaders?

Good article in Harvard Business Review online on the importance of leaders developing leaders:

In the best [organizations] senior leaders play the critical role in teaching the next generation. It’s become an acid test for me of [organizational] greatness: if your senior leadership isn’t investing a significant amount of their own time in educating high-potentials, that doesn’t bode well for your [organization].

So – are you, as a leader, intentionally investing in the growth of your next-generation leaders?  If not – why?

Invest in someone with an eye towards eternity!