Welcome to this quarter’s edition of Leadership Development Worldwide (LDW) Touchpoint. Our goal is to keep you updated on LDW’s expansion, while also offering valuable perspectives on the larger shifts influencing global leaders. As a team of seasoned business psychologists and consultants, LDW is dedicated to amplifying leadership excellence. Our mission continues to be empowering leaders, fostering resilient teams, and driving organizational success.

As we continue to scale with the growing needs of our clients, we have made some exciting changes within our team. First, we are pleased to announce Dr. Rachel Maxwell's promotion to Partner at LDW. Rachel has been an invaluable asset to our team, bringing over two decades of rich experience in organizational effectiveness and leadership development. Rachel has been a cornerstone in our journey, enriching our team and culture with her expertise in integrated talent management, executive assessment, succession planning, and executive coaching. We are also excited to have Dr. Nicole Morris join LDW as a Principal Consultant, based in Chicago. Nicole brings a wealth of experience in succession management, executive assessment, and team effectiveness.

In this issue, we delve into thought-provoking topics that resonate with today’s leaders: HiPo talent valuation, scaling your coaching investments, and exploring intergenerational differences. Additionally, we address a critical aspect of senior leadership: Creating “Stick” in Senior Leadership Hires. Join us as we embrace change, ignite growth, and champion leadership resilience!

Insights From the Field

Investing in HiPo Talent

Dr. Anjali Fox, San Diego

As a leadership consultant, I've witnessed the immense value of nurturing high-potential (HiPo) talent within an organization. These individuals possess exceptional abilities, drive, and the potential to shape the future of the organization. Here are some practical strategies to maximize their growth and impact:

Personalized Recognition: HiPo individuals need to feel valued. Regularly acknowledge their contributions and celebrate their achievements. A simple thank-you or public recognition can go a long way in reinforcing their commitment and motivation.

Targeted Development Plans: HiPos thrive on challenges and growth opportunities. Tailor development plans specifically to their needs. Assess their strengths and areas for improvement, and design learning experiences accordingly. Whether it’s leadership workshops, cross-functional projects, or exposure to senior executives, ensure that their development aligns with organizational goals.

Open Career Discussions: Engage in transparent conversations about their career aspirations. Understand their motivations, whether it’s growing within the organization, leading innovative projects, or making a social impact. Regular one-on-one discussions provide a platform to align their aspirations with organizational opportunities.

Executive Coaching: Provide personalized coaching to address specific development needs. Whether it’s enhancing their ability to scale, broadening their influence, or getting out of "the weeds", targeted coaching accelerates their growth.

Stakeholder Alignment: HiPo development is a team effort. Involve all relevant stakeholders:

  • Executive Leadership: Gain their commitment to HiPo programs. Highlight the strategic importance of nurturing these talents.
  • Human Resources (HR): Collaborate with HR to integrate HiPo identification, assessment, and development into performance reviews and succession planning.
  • Direct Managers: Equip managers to support HiPos effectively. Regular check-ins, feedback, and coaching are essential.
  • Peers and Mentors: Encourage peer learning and mentorship. HiPos can learn from each other and benefit from seasoned leaders’ insights.

Investing in HiPo talent pays dividends. They can become the driving force behind innovation, organizational resilience, and sustained success. By making them feel valued, providing targeted development, and aligning stakeholders, we pave the way for a stronger future for both the individuals and the organization.

Generational Differences: Leading in the New Normal

Dr. Andreas Hoyndorf, Hamburg

In earlier Touchpoint articles, we discussed client organisations facing increasing challenges in finding successors for retiring Baby Boomer generations among next generation(s). High-potential talents may express reluctance to step up, as they may be less willing to make the same sacrifices and to follow the same beliefs of what leadership should look like. While simplistic attributions to generational differences in leadership need to be treated with caution, we hear clients increasingly speculating about the impact of inter-generational distinctions and their implications when assessing successors and developing younger talents.

The pandemic years added another layer of complexity to this: leaders are currently debating the impact of hybrid working models and more or less rigorous return-to-office mandates, which can bring even more conflict potential between generations to light (e.g., Boomers vs. Millennials vs Gen Z). The rapid change during the Covid years has shown how quickly established beliefs about how we should work can be overcome, so the current debate is even more open and passionate. On top of this, younger executives have more options to work for new employers remotely, and the Covid years have taught them how quickly they can adapt.

When our clients request help in this context, we have recently started to offer explorational inter-generational workshops for leaders and talents within the same company. With this service, we strive to prevent overly simplistic attributions and to increase mutual understanding by jointly exploring hot topics and concrete critical moments when misunderstandings and conflicts recently occurred. Participants conduct joint root cause analyses of these 'critical moments‘ and reflect on their different frames of references for evaluating leadership. As one of our clients stated, "The goal is to facilitate joint learnings for leading better together in the new normal."

Leveraging Executive Coaching at Scale

Dr. Nicole Morris, Chicago

Learning through others is one of the powerful ways for leaders to gain new skills or strengthen their capabilities. When we talk with leaders, they often point to a mentor who changed the way they thought about leading people, or a boss that inspired them to master a new skill. It is through this human connection where stories are told, mistakes are shared, and learnings to apply in their own world are often made.

In a remote world, connecting with others has changed, and some leaders say it is harder to connect with those outside of their immediate circle. Companies use many development methods to foster learning through others - training courses, education programs, and mentorships to name a few - although these can be costly and challenging to implement at scale. One way that we’ve seen organizations deal with this challenge is to use a group coaching model. Group coaching is an approach in which people with similar goals work with a coach to strengthen skills. The coach works with the group to facilitate discussion, draw connections between issues, and guide them toward established goals. I personally find groups of three work well, as it allows for enough space for all voices to be heard, without too many voices, which can be challenging to manage.

Why might an organization consider LDW's group coaching program?

  • Strengthen Individual Capabilities at Scale: Executive coaching is widely recognized as an effective approach for building capabilities in an accelerated manner; however, it is a challenge to use at scale. Group coaching brings the same benefits of having a trained coach, but it can reach more people. This is especially beneficial for the mid-level management population.
  • Foster an Enterprise Mindset: It is easy to be narrowly focused on your own role and responsibilities. With group coaching, the organization can bring together individuals with shared development goals from different functional areas. During the group coaching sessions, these leaders are going to hear about other areas of the business, which increases understanding of how these functions work together, promotes knowledge transfer, and raises awareness of organizational structures.

Creating "Stick" in Senior Leadership Hires

Year 1 Is Critical

One of LDW’s core service offerings is providing Executive Assessments for selection purposes, often for very senior, “top of the house” roles. These senior roles - often reporting to the CEO or leading very large operating divisions - are mission critical to the performance of the organization. There is no question that a robust assessment process can help mitigate the risk of a mis-hire.

But having a great selection process is not enough to ensure that the executive will thrive, or even survive Year 1. In our experience, there is a small but significant percentage (maybe 20%) of new executives who are very capable but run the risk of derailing in their first year of transition into a new organization.

Even if the new leader really is capable, we sometimes see them “teeter” toward the edge of failing in the first 6-12 months. Without intervention and support, they may “fall off” the edge during their first critical year.

Why do some capable leaders derail in Year 1?

  • They may have trouble adjusting to a new organizational culture.
  • The new organization may struggle to adjust to them - even when the leader's unique style and strengths were deliberately sought out, (i.e. "We need someone to really shake things up around here, bring new ideas and a fresh way of thinking.") This approach can often lead to "organ rejection."
  • They may not really understand the different expectations in the new role, vs. their version of what “good" looks like.
  • They may fail to fully connect with their new team and/or their new boss.
  • Sometimes the new role is a step up, and they are still leading with their old behaviors.
  • Often, they try to do what worked in the past, but misread the current situation.

What are the warning signs?

  • Key stakeholders are saying “the jury is still out” on whether this was a successful hire.
  • Some stakeholders are giving negative reviews, while others see many of glimmers of potential.
  • The new leader is overly focused on their specific functional area.
  • They struggle to connect and build interpersonal relationships.
  • The new leader is not taking ownership for their role, their organization, their performance, or their (lack of) impact.

The first year in a new role is critical for any executive. Along with new expectations, responsibilities, and required skills, there are relationships, stakeholders, and networks to develop. Without intentionality, support from the organization, and ongoing communication, small issues may become big ones - and it can be difficult to redirect early impressions that have solidified in order to get back on track.

LDW's Critical Year Program

Onboarding and Alignment Support for Successful Executive Integration

LDW’s Critical Year Program provides the right inputs, support, targeted coaching, and team interventions to ensure that integration into a new role and culture is as smooth as possible, setting up the leader and their organization for a productive and sustainable relationship that produces impactful results.

Benefits of the Critical Year Program

  • Helps team establish mutual understanding of their new leader (and vice versa).
  • Encourages productive communication and problem solving as issues arise.
  • Clarifies expectations and unspoken norms, and facilitates cultural adaptation.
  • Provides confidential, objective coaching.
  • Shapes early perceptions proactively, identifying any gaps between intention and impact, and adjusting behavior and focus accordingly.
  • Delivers in-depth feedback on reputation, impact in new role, and progress against development goals.

To learn more about LDW's Critical Year Program, reach out to your consultant or contact

As we move forward, fueled by the dedication of our growing team and the strength of our long-standing client relationships, your partnership is invaluable. As we stride confidently into the future, we are committed to keeping you informed, sharing insights from our latest engagements, and exploring leadership behaviors in our dynamic world. Your trust inspires us to continue making an impact in the ever-changing field of leadership advisory. Until our next edition, let’s keep leading, evolving, and inspiring together!