How can you accelerate the development of leaders so they can be prepared to take more responsibility sooner?
Michele Isaacs, vice-president, global head of learning and development, Thomson Reuters (MI): Learning and development, for us, is about providing access to people, ideas and experiences that prepare leaders. So, we often think about development from an experiences, rather than skills, perspective. We then help people get these experiences, through assignments, formal learning, coaching, peer-to-peer learning and so on. We aim to tease out the experiences people need to have and focus our development work there.
Simon Gibson, director, learning and organisational development, NBC Universal (SG): Speed is everything and the world is moving so fast that anything that supports this from a development perspective will help. Spend as much time as possible on communication – with each other, teams, stakeholders etc. The answers no longer sit with individual leaders, but with many, so work with this as soon as possible, especially if you want to progress. I believe in the power and the potential of the network.
Eugenio Pirri, vice-president, people and organisational development, Dorchester Collection (EP): For us, the key is getting people to understand themselves more. Our Dorchester Academy has six levels. Some of those are dedicated to different leadership levels: entry level, more senior or most senior. The core of each module is understanding yourself, your talent, what motivates you, and what makes you a good leader.
The more you can understand yourself, how you’re viewed, and your legacy, the more it impacts on how you manage people and provide inspirational leadership. Once people understand who they really are, they develop a lot faster.
Don’t be afraid to take risks. If you’ve identified someone with talent, who’s never been a leader, but you see that ability to lead, read and understand people and provide solutions, you have to take that risk. Some of our department heads are as young as 26 and they’re managing £4-5 million parts of the business because they have the potential and talent.