The Generation Leadership Challenge.

Posted by: Eric L. Herzog, Ph.D.,

Time to Share Core Competencies with Tomorrow’s Leadership

Many organizations view their competitive advantage as being the most knowledgeable and experienced source within their field. Yet many core concepts of a successful organization may be lost to future generations of managers as its leaders move upward or retire. In the next decade, as baby-boomers retire, nearly 50% of upper management in many corporations will vanish.

The new focus, beyond individual development of high performing individuals, is on coordinated development of the managerial and technical competencies forecast for the future. And an innovative model for developing the leadership talent pool, Leader-Led Leadership Development®, encourages potential leaders to share their knowledge and experiences with others.

LLLD® makes sharing corporate knowledge, values and culture the responsibility of all leaders at all levels. Knowledge is transferred to new leaders who can effectively learn, adapt and deploy it. When senior leaders are involved in evaluating, guiding and teaching, all parties become accountable and involved, and learn what is needed company-wide to perpetuate the organization.

It’s not easy for these leaders to find time to pass along their experience and vision to new employees. Yet, more and more, hands-on training by top company leaders is being found to be the most effective way to insure growth and perpetuate success. LLLD® is one of the most profitable investments of time and money a successful corporate leader can make.

Leaders Developing Leaders

The concept of leaders developing leaders can be carried down through every department … in every facility. How much more powerful would the corporate mission statement be when delivered personally by the CEO? Who better to teach the operating procedures than the person who developed them?

That’s the challenge COSTCO, the giant membership retailer, faced. Their growth plans called for 5,000 new leaders a year to run the new U.S. stores they were opening. In addition, their overseas expansion to Asia and Europe meant new hurdles for their HR department, crossing cultural and language barriers.

It became apparent that HR and upper management must work together to turn out the caliber of new manager the company needed to meet its expansion goals. The most successful leaders had to be recruited to tell the rest how to do it right.

“At the time it seemed a radical concept,” according to a COSTCO executive. “Pulling crucial managers off the floor and getting them to train new leaders had never been considered. Never seemed cost effective. Yet we were committed to the growth plans, so we got together with Eric and his Quest team and developed a novel approach to learning and teaching.

Building on the strengths of COSTCO’s long-standing, solid retail reputation was a basis for the strategy they developed. A combination of capable staff, with a pioneer’s knowledge of the marketplace led the COSTCO/Quest team to focus on the following key areas …

Maximizing Internal Strengths

Studying existing capabilities led to a list of basic strengths, matched with the employee characteristics which most needed cultivation. Assessing leaders and top performers led to a model of core competencies necessary to accomplish the company’s objectives.

Developing New Capabilities

By assembling data from the successful and the less than stellar pockets of the company, team members quickly found out the weak points. No matter what the category, there were stores which stood out … someone, or a team, who developed a better way of accomplishing their mission.

Taking advantage of those new methods and skills necessitated a step-by-step program, as well as the active involvement by those very same innovators who were solving problems and getting peak performance. The Leader-Led program was set up to tap into this wealth of experience.

Knowing the Marketplace

Understanding Future Markets is a key factor in training the leaders of tomorrow. And this endeavor,  undertaken correctly,  involves the entire organization in the process. After understanding, comes planning. To take advantage of potential new opportunities never dreamed of just a few years ago.

Preparing for New Customer Behavior involves input from all levels in an organization. Here’s a key area where Leader-Led Leadership Development® gives those privy to the best corporate information the chance to apply it to building the leadership base that will accomplish the goals over the next decades.

Now, senior leaders don’t just send their staff to training. They help design and as well as facilitate the program. They make a commitment to develop their people and support them on the job. They identify specific ø real ø issues and teach tomorrow’s leaders how to apply the company’s preferred methods to deal with them.

he results have been spectacular. On every level COSTCO’s HR team has documented and proven the program’s impact on the bottom line. Not only are the leaders they need ready for the new facilities, their new facilities are opening successfully adding to the bottom line. All with a reduction in their training costs. This same program was exported effortlessly overseas. They are working to quantify the bottom line impact. Proof of an HR program which is actively supporting corporate goals.

Eric L. Herzog, Ph.D.
Eric L. Herzog, Ph.D.,

Dr. Herzog has 20+ years experience as a consultant and educator in structural and operational change, strategic planning, team building, productivity and executive development.