Friday, January 31, 2014

Custom Leadership: Building Humanity Across Multi-Generational Divides

Case Study: How to achieve a high success rate in reaction, learning and behavior change.

One of the clients we are currently designing Custom Leadership education for is a large energy company that is in the midst of massive organizational changes. These changes are based on the shifts in energy usage, customer demands and a future that is filled with the potential for disruptive technologies that will dramatically change their current business model.

Though the business backdrop is changing quickly, people change at a much slower rate. One of the ways we have made a stronger connection on this is through multi-generational training. Providing a framework for why people from different generations see work in different ways has been very insightful and framed the process of leadership education in an approachable light.

As a traditional company, they have experienced many of the same trends as other American businesses. Baby Boomers are not retiring as planned, many need to work well into their 60’s as their homes are not worth what they thought they would be, their retirement accounts are not what they had hoped they would be and since everyone is living longer, more resources and money are needed to manage what might be an additional 30 years! With Gen X being the smallest recorded cohort, they do not have the quantity to fill the talent pipeline. Also, Gen Xers were the first to talk about work-life balance. They believe in family and are not likely to pick business time over family time.

As this organization invests in shifting their culture, one of the key strategies through leadership programs is injecting a large dose of “humanity” into the curriculum. Leadership development is about strategy, decision-making, innovation and of course driving for results. But, with a new generation and a 24/7 environment employees are starved for the positive human interaction. Building effective business relationships, communicating in a collaborative manor and engaging them to be a part of the process is key to long-term success.

The success rate for this custom leadership training has been high in reaction, learning and behavior change. Metrics were set up pre and post and the Level 1 reaction has been excellent. High marks for interesting materials, for interactive activities, high levels of dialogue and exchanges; they especially liked the robust case studies, which reflect real-life scenarios allowing great discussions and relevance to the everyday challenges.

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