Where to Shift Perspectives to Grow Leadership Talent

Dan Loichinger

We typically accept new ideas that reinforce our current views, and reject those that don’t match. Not to say they aren’t always true, but sometimes, we need to challenge our assumptions and ask others for help to see the complete picture

Today, perception is reality. How relevant are your perceptions and practices for organizational leadership and executive development? Shift them this year, while you still have time to develop the next wave of strategic leadership in your company.


Leadership Shifts


Fast Forward

Organizations started formal training for managers and executive’s years ago. Approaches have come and gone, but today’s businesses spend billions of dollars to prepare leaders and executives for their important role and responsibilities.

In the last decade, executive coaching and development has grown at a phenomenal rate, and yet we continue to apply many of those old stories and assumptions that have already lived out their useful life.

As an executive coach and TEC Chair, I realize that not everyone needs or is ready for the services I offer, but far too many are burdened with these old stories and ideas. We need to advance our thinking and complete the picture to fully realize the benefits that are available to us.

How effectively are you developing current and future executives to drive your strategic growth initiatives? Where have you shifted and grown?  Are you relevant to others anymore?


Shifting Perspectives

 While there are many perspectives to highlight, I’ll share several shifting perspectives in the table and highlight a few I see and hear most often in my daily travels:


Old Perspective 

 New Perspective

We send people to training expecting that the problem will be resolved. Our managers have now been fixed.
Training and executive education is much more effective when it is intentional, targeted, and we look at training as a part of the overall solution.
The higher I move up in the company the less I need or receive pro-active leadership development.
Expectations for executives and owners are higher than ever before. They need leadership development now, more than ever.


Leadership development is expensive.
Well-planned leadership & executive development pays for itself many times over.


If I provide people a lot of training, they will use it to jump ship and leave to get a better job elsewhere.
If you think training is expensive, try paying for the mistakes of everyone you haven’t trained properly.



New Perspectives

Senior executives and business owners hold the keys for setting expectations, balancing requests for organizational investments, and holding leaders accountable for the leadership behaviors and results.

My summary of the new perspective is summarized in the following points:

  • Leadership development needs to be seen as an investment in your organizations future and growth.
  • Leadership development is much more successful when intentional, planned and integrated with the strategic priorities of the business.
  • Leadership development for the executive team is more important than ever, and should not be lightly dismissed.
  • Investments in leadership and executive coaching will pay higher returns than any other infrastructure investment you can make in the business.

Taking Action

I imagine you already have taken steps to grow the leadership pipeline of talent in your business and organization. If not, here are several action steps you may want to consider in your early stages of investment:

  • Budget & Invest: Identify and set aside a percentage of payrolls to invest in your leaders development. The average investment for training and talent budgets is between 4 – 5%.
  • Define Success: Do this by defining and agreeing to what leadership skills and competencies are key to your organizations success. You don’t have to start from scratch, but you do need to winnow your large list down to the critical few.
  • Assess & Discover: Once you have defined and rolled out the leadership initiative, assess where leaders are at each level in your organization: first level supervision, management, and executive level.
  • Development Plan: After completing a 360-degree assessment, you can further build value by developing an individual leadership development plan. This will help them prioritize a few goals, align those goals to important company plans, and build an action plan that can be tracked
  • Measure Outcomes: I encourage my clients to measure leadership growth and impact vs. activity that is easy to capture. If leadership plans were aligned with strategic initiatives, assess how well those initiatives met company objectives.

Closing Thoughts

Success begins with the plan, perspective and the goals that we set in motion. Remember the Shewart Cycle: Plan – Do – Check – Act? Begin with what you hope to achieve and a strong business case for why. Start small. Begin with leaders who accept the role of leaders and are accept how you will be developing their talents. Make sure leaders at each state of the leadership pipeline are engaged. Pilot and test each new aspect of your development system. They won’t be perfect. Review, improve and keep moving forward. Above all, be clear about your expectation, and offer leaders choices to achieve the outcomes you desire. It’s a great journey. Enjoy the ride.

Let me know what part of this article resonated most with you.  What have you done and where else have you built success?



Dan Loichinger is the founder and president of Loichinger Advantage LLC. The Madison, Wisconsin based firm delivers proprietary executive coaching, leadership assessments and executive roundtables for owners and executives of growing companies.

Clients value our ability to increase their leadership effectiveness, improve their insight, accelerate change, and increase their competitive advantage.

Together, we deliver proven leadership growth.