Walk the Line, But Don’t Jump Over It

You have seen your weaknesses, and you’ve found the complementary skills that will increase the strength you’ve decided to focus on.  The time has come to do what you probably do best – work on it!  The complementary skills that Zenger, Folkman, and Edinger have identified are ones that can be developed in a linear fashion.  When you find your strength’s complementary skill set begin to research business journals and self-help libraries, as well as asking a colleague that excels in that skill set for help.  Also consider internal learning opportunities as well as outside classes and webinars.

You should see solid improvements within 30 to 60 days.  If you and your colleagues don’t see improvement then you need to rethink your approach.  Like anything, practice is essential and it may help to have concrete benchmarks to encourage your consistency and give you performance indicators to inform your progress.  When you check back a year or two later with another round of 360 reviews, you should find that you have greatly increased this strength area and can look for another to develop.

However, be cautioned that you can overdo it with little reward.  The data shows that the difference between having four profound strengths and five is only a gain of 2% in overall leadership effectiveness.  Too much of a good thing can simply stress you out without having a real payoff for you or your organization.

Overall, this cross-training approach should give executives a clear path to enhance their strengths, and develop the many good leaders in their organization into great ones.  Putting a plan in place across organizational levels can be of great benefit to your talent pool and retention rates – both great sustainable practices.  Let us know if you would like some assistance in creating such a program.  Or let us know if you have undergone this process either as an individual or organization.  What results did you see?  What were some specific challenges you have faced in this process?


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