Cultivating leaders

“Next year’s corporate goals include doubling our sales. Currently, we are revamping our offer, measuring success resulting from previous advertising campaigns, and building up our team.

International consulting firms have understood for years that applying the “up or out” formula for developing competent and loyal partners is a sure road to success. An employee must continually improve his technical skills, expand his professional experiences, and show ability to competently meet everyday challenges in order to move up the career ladder. Only the very best candidates from each years’ new hires get to stay, while the rest are pushed out.
A formula of this nature builds “stakeholders” who have a vested interest to assure the company achieves its goals and objectives. Once a solid foundation is in place, it is a suitable model for rapid expansion because leaders can develop leaders rapidly, as opposed to the more typical formula of leaders building followers one at a time. John Maxwell, a leadership authority, outlined in his discussions about leading explosive growth that it is critical to “shift from follower’s math to leader’s math,” in order to realize growth plans.
According to Maxwell’s research, leaders who develop leaders requires a different mentality than those who develop followers. Compare and contrast the two styles.

  • Leaders who develop followers: a) need to be needed, b) focus on weaknesses, c) develop the bottom 20%, d) hoard power, and e) grow by addition.
  • Leaders who develop leaders: a) want to be successful, b) focus on strengths, c) develop the top 20%, d) give power away, and e) grow by multiplication.

Although highly effective, utilizing this formula takes time and the results are not immediately evident. Top executives will agree that developing leaders can be a daunting task because talent is hard to find, attract, and keep. Apt leaders are often independent and have an entrepreneurial spirit. That leaves few other choices, but to find ingenious ways to make them vested stakeholders.

Ref: John Maxwell, The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, 1998

Article prepared by Renée LeMoine, Executive Director, LeMoine & Associates


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