Genesis of the journey was a sketch on the desk and mind of Leader of the Group – Mr Hemant Sapra. Is there a way in which we can objectively surface Karam’s promising talent that have the potential and can be honed to take on leadership roles? A KTSP – Karam Talent Search Program, perhaps. Steer the workforce towards a new strategy- leadership development. Leadership development in which best minds will be discovered to deal with real, current business problems, and likely break the status-quo, to refresh systems, processes and thinking.
Context is Key. Leaders learn best when they connect new information and skills to their own experience (Hull 1993), and 30 years of study show the effectiveness of real-world learning (Carraher, Carraher, and Schleimer 1985; Lave, Smith, and Butler 1988). This is very ethos on which the Leadership Journey now LEAP-Leadership Acceleration Program was based on.
Most executives, when asked where leadership development happens, think primarily of the classroom. However, when executives are asked what shaped them as leaders, most cite real-world, on-the-job experiences.
A new approach was being introduced at the start of the journey was a BOOTCAMP. For a week, almost all of Karam’s Top Brass addressed and presented to the select group of 10 members of LEAP team. Senior leaders presented the history, genesis, relevance and ethos of business verticals & functions where discussions and brainstorming was encouraged, to deepen learning.
The Boot-camp was followed by an immersion into entire product range for 15 days led by a senior leader-an innovator and practitioner. One-on-one mentorship and feedback as well as coaching sessions were instituted to help Leap participants to set aside old beliefs about what was possible and to discover new thinking.
The group compiled ideas upon ideas ready for further exploration. They also exhibited a new level of collaboration and energetic can-do attitude. By integrating leadership development into Karam’s strategy, these emerging leaders began to adopt, practice, and demonstrate the creative thinking the organization needed. Karam’s Projects provided everyone a live experimentation laboratory.
Senior Leaders invested in the creation of emerging talent with a win-win strategy of exchange of new ideas. Leap participants feel more included and valued as their company leaders take the time to share their perspectives personally, throughout the journey.
Leadership development is a potent way to implement new thoughts and even transform culture. Steeping development in the real-Karam context of the business to motivated people can give the following benefits;
- Strategies and innovative thoughts get created and communicated while Leap participants go through their individual journeys. But leadership development sessions are an ideal place to articulate out-of-box thinking.
- As they move from vertical to vertical, function to function, they act as creative solution carriers; having seen the insides most verticals and functions they know what works well where, and what can be transplanted, for better performance and results.
- Though existing leaders know how to leverage a company’s strengths, many are not prepared to handle weaknesses such as under performing people and under invested functions. When leaders are offered a clearly articulated SWOT and understand what’s behind the suggestions, it gives them clarity.
- Pioneering ideas get prioritized; they can pursue new directions and re-look at assumptions and opens up channels to new ideas. Leadership development essentially becomes the safety net for innovation and experimentation.
- A network of leaders is born. Gaining a breadth of perspective only happens when leaders build relationships across business units. Unfortunately, many leaders feel stuck in their silo: they only get part of the story. That makes cross-functional problem solving difficult.
Top talent stays with an organization as long as they feel like they are contributing and learning. Companies known for developing leaders have outperformed their peer groups for decades: P&G, GE, Kraft, Goldman Sachs, IBM, Whirlpool, and American Express, to name a few. Nurturing talent becomes part of the organization’s culture, and builds an impact over time. Leadership development ignites human potential. Done well and connected to strategy, it delivers results for the organization.
- Leadership development can be used to put the best minds in a company to work on real, current business problems.
- Each leader’s effectiveness depends on a number of factors, including personality traits, personal experience and workplace skills.
- Realize that development is a journey. Meaningful change happens over time, but leaders can embrace new behaviors when they have been given time to understand them.
- The power of service and purpose. Serving a greater good is a powerful motivator for a leader to be his or her best self.