On Growing Leaders

Growing new leaders? Your organization needs them to learn new skills and contribute to customer value as soon as possible. So we start them with (hopefully) some formal training and then look for ways to reinforce what was learned. Growing leaders takes time. How to accelerate it?

Enter catchy little apps positioned as a way to “keep learning alive” and offer leadership training reinforcement in small chunks. It sounds good, fast, and relevant. And fun, because it’s an app, right?

Think twice.

Many apps reward the wrong behaviors, creating vanity metrics that don’t contribute to your goal of growing new leaders. For example, in one “leadership” app, leaders score points based on answering the question correctly, and how fast they do it. Meaning, the leader gets an email, telling them to go to the app, and then they are ranked on how fast they get into the app after receiving the email. Leaders are often pitted against each other on “leaderboards.”

This approach, even lightly used, is an anti-pattern for any organization wanting to build sustainable change. If you want leaders who can aptly game the system and look at the wrong metric for success, by all means pit them against each other using an app or other means. If you want leaders who understand why they are leaders, and can contribute to customer value, there is no easy, catchy way to do it.

Not sure where to begin? As a first step, you’ve read this blog. As a next step, consider having a conversation about how you want your leaders to help deliver customer value.


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