You can’t make it a week without some list of people or companies being published either in magazines or in blogs about the best this and the best that. Leadership it seems is no different and this month Forbes magazine publishes it’s list of “Top 25 companies for leaders”. So far it’s only a summary from the website (the summary list is below) but to save you time starved peeps the effort I’ve had a read through and have some overarching thoughts to share.
It doesn’t all have to be external – using internal resources to develop your leaders whether that be through workshops or through mentoring is equally if not more valid that using external experts.
Senior commitment – numerous references are made to participation of senior managers, CEO expectations and participation. It seems the best of the best start at the top
Involvement – whether that be of managers in the programme or participants in community or charity work, getting leaders involved in a broader sphere than their function appears highly regarded
Women – several of the participants are noted for special focus paid to women, whether that be mentoring or proportion of leaders that are female
British ain’t best – of the list of 25 only one is British and then actually it’s Anglo-Dutch (tricky to work out i’m sure). Unsuprisingly American based companies do well but next in the list after the US is India.
Internal Succession – a number of mentions are made of those who successfully develop their leaders from within.
Recognition – recognising the effort not just of those being developed but also those who commit to developing them reflects well for several companies
Playing the long game – the realisation that retaining key talent and having them succeed (in both senses of the word) through any organisation takes a longer term view than ‘next appraisal’ is noted for a few of the companies.
So there it is, a summary of a summary… As with any of these lists you have to ask how they were assessed and by whom, what were the inclusion criteria and how much crafting of submission went to be considered and recognise but there are some good ideas in there which I shall present as my own reference when next developing a leadership development strategy.
For those of you who remember (and in some cases adore) ‘Good to Great’ if you read the list of the ‘great’ companies now, some of them have fallen on hard times and some don’t exist and whether that was down to their flawed greatness or paradigm shift in external factors who’s to say but the two questions i’m always left with after reading any of these “best of” lists are these:
- If you polled the employees would they agree?
- Will the ‘best’ leadership of these organisations mean they continue to be successful?
The Top 25 (in order)
IBM Sends leadership SWAT teams around the world to coach local staff
General Mills 90% of management promotions are internal
P&G Every single CEO of P&G started at entry level
Aditya Birla Honours employees who teach villagers skills like composting
Colgate-Palmolive The 7 day leadership event for junior employees features a business challenge, presentations by senior management & charity work
Hinudstan Unilever Sends young managers to live in villages to understand rural consumers
ICICI Assigns talent scouts to identify 2,500 promising employees
McDonalds The development programme takes rising stars from central functions and develops them plus exposes them to other cultures
Whirlpool A dozen senior execs are “innovation mentors” tasked with evaluating new ideas
Pepsico Creates 10 year development plans for individuals with C-Suite potential
GE CEO devotes 40% of his time to leadership development
BBVA Offers theatre workshops to boost managerial communication skills
Natura Every year managers are asked to reaffirm their commitment or leave
Deere CEO personally mentors 20-30 employees as part of their development
3M Over 300 Senior managers teach on leadership programmes customized by country
Eli-Lilly Half of variable compensation for managers is assessed against mentoring and leader behaviours
McKinsey Job applicants receive coaching between interview rounds
L’Oreal 23% of senior managers are women
Unilever The top 100 leaders in the business submit development plans to the CEO
Siemens AG Each year 10 junior employees are named “stars of the future”
Intel An internal network of executive women mentor female talent
China Vanke The company discourages displays of dogmatism by managers
Wipro Over 100 employees have gone on to start their own businesses
Bharti Airtel A reverse mentoring programme sees junior employees mentoring senior colleagues about tech
Novartis Runs a 2.5 day programme to help managers “understand their core purpose”