Leaders are a pivotal element of an organization; they create a vision, establish what matters, explain why it matters, set the direction, and inspire their team. Organizations have, and will always need, leaders that can discern budding challenges and implement solutions. Leadership development is vital to the success of a business; strong leaders contribute to a smaller turnover rate and higher moral. Why then, in a more than $50 billion global industry, do only 7 percent of CEOs believe their companies are building effective leaders? What is missing from leadership development?

While no magic potion will make leadership development turn around for all companies overnight, some key factors appear to be missing thanks to a 2017 study conducted by McKinsey. One of the big ones is the failure to translate the company strategy into a leadership model that aligns with their specific needs. Organizations that were able to implement a successful leadership development program were eight times more likely to focus on leadership behavior that was reflected in business performance compared to those that were unsuccessful. These programs were treated as growth opportunities for individual managers and were altered as needed, rather than having one set method for the group as a whole. This is significant because it is allowing the leaders to focus on their self-awareness and adjust their behavior according to different scenarios, while also enhancing their abilities as a leader.

Technology has also been a game-changer in the realm of leadership development. No longer must organizations rely on the “teacher and classroom” model. Thanks to digital learning, leadership development can not only reach a more extensive scale within the organization but can also be implemented in the day-to-day workflow of managers. Many successful leaders will reflect that their capabilities as a leader evolved by handling conflict in a specific context. This method allows managers to take what they are learning and practicing it immediately in their jobs.

Leaders emerge at any level within an organization. They inspire others to work towards a common goal and, ultimately, play a significant role in an organization’s success. Investing in a well-designed leadership development program to support leaders and cultivate their capabilities will be beneficial for the team and organization as a whole.