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  • Writer's pictureKim Catania

Leader Development? How about Talent Development to build your entire Bench instead?

Many companies employ leader development programs – they implement a rigorous selection process, establish criteria and require identified candidates to complete multi-step, long-term programs – inclusive of assessments and simulated environments. Often times these programs require candidates to achieve a score or rating to determine their abilities to be successful in a future role. So, leader pipelines are often filled with candidates tagged for specific roles.


These programs can, in fact, work well to build a stream of ready potentials for leader roles. According to Gartner Group, “building the leadership bench is a major priority in 2019 for 67% of heads of human resources and 78% of talent management leaders.” However, if an organization’s goals are to increase revenue growth and consistently enhance business results, an adjusted view needs to occur to account for rapidly changing environments. A top-down, all-around culture of continuous learning will inevitably accelerate talent development across an organization. Overall, talent development should align to an organization’s objectives and strategies, not just for specific roles and vacancies – this will allow flexibility in an ever-changing marketplace and will better enable personnel to expand skills, behaviors and competence for their current and future roles.


The implementation of continuous ongoing learning has proven successful time and time again. ‘One and done’ isolated training events tend to NOT change behavior and do not nurture skill development or behavioral changes. Ongoing experiential learning opportunities and experiences at every level are far more engaging. These enable employees to learn from doing and encourage them to continue their learning journey. This opens the path to behavior change, so they grow and accelerate to exceed expectations in whatever role they may be in, or aspire to. All levels of the organization need to want to foster a growth-minded learning culture – from senior leadership to the front line.


Organizations that encourage current leaders to model forward-thinking behaviors and encourage innovation, new ideas, perspectives and approaches from their direct reports will inevitably grow their talent to excel in an ever-changing environment. This approach builds a sturdier, long-lasting bench.

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