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IBM Takes Top Spot in Leadership Study

If you're looking to develop good leaders in your IT organization, consider using IBM as your model.

In Fortune magazine’s latest study of organizational leadership around the world, IBM placed first among 470 global companies “committed to building leadership capabilities within their organizations.” According to Big Blue, “An expert panel of independent judges selected and ranked winners based on criteria including strength of leadership practices and culture, examples of leader development on a global scale, impact of leadership in communities in which companies operate, business performance, and company reputation.”

An announcement from IBM quotes the Fortune survey as pointing out that “leadership, more than ever, is the single largest determinant of competitiveness in business, and that the demand for leaders will only intensify in the current business environment.” That could easily be said about IT leadership as well.

Constant evaluation and planning is critical. Of those ranked as “top companies” in the study, 92 percent “measure their leadership development processes, compared to 61 percent of the other companies.” In addition, 84 percent of top companies evaluate “their high potential programs, while only 49 percent of the rest do the same.” The study reports that “92 percent of Top Companies measure the strength of their leadership pipeline, as well as their ability to retain leaders, while 60 percent of all other companies measure these two areas.” The ability to retain their high-potential/critical talent, and their “ability to fill key positions with internal candidates” are also characteristics of the top firms.

"This recognition reflects IBM's ongoing commitment to developing leaders from deep within our global organization. This is a discipline that is both world class and uniquely IBM," said Randy MacDonald, IBM's Senior Vice President of Human Resources. "As we enter our second century, leadership development will remain at the top of our agenda as we groom the next generation of leaders skilled at collaborating across teams, cultures, countries and businesses."

Leadership development takes work, a commitment I haven’t seen in most IT shops where I’ve worked. The top companies “are passionate and committed to leadership development. Their leadership programs are practical, relevant and aligned with business goals. Top Companies have an intense focus on talent, and they are deliberate about hiring, coaching, developing, and rewarding success. Finally, leadership development at these organizations is an embedded practice and mindset.”

The study, first released in 2002, was conducted by Aon Hewitt, a human resource consulting and outsourcing firm, and its partner, The RBL Group, an advisory firm specializing in strategic HR and leadership. More about the study can be found here.

-- James E. Powell
Editorial Director, ESJ

Posted by Jim Powell on 11/03/2011

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