Leaders And Leadership Development—Joining The Dots

Leaders And Leadership Development—Joining The Dots

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There are a couple of hundred books and case studies covering the topic on leadership and importance of developing right leaders & culture to build a sustainable organisation. From a practitioners’ perspective, we have seen many organisations with strong connects as well as disconnects between the “objectives of leadership development” (why do you want to develop leaders?) to actual outcomes from “leadership development process” (process implemented) and measured. Over the years, the alignment or misalignment led to either sustainable businesses or not so gradual disasters! The disconnect creates a “stress”, that leads to weak performance at the top, unclear strategy and undesirable culture.

So here are some correlations between what organisations set out to do on this topic to what actually seem to happen. This is from the data of leaders from different organisations across sectors from ICube’s automated people strategy& solutions self-discovery tool.

The following data highlights some of the commonalities & differences between Objectives and Process of Leadership Development across different sectors in 8 countries (3 point scale)Chandru Long article 1 - Img 1


Chandru Long article 1 - Img 2

Findings: The following sectors seem to have a strong correlation between “Objectives of leadership development” and the “Process implemented” to produce the desired outcomes.

  • Chemical and Petro chemical industry (not surprising!)
  • Media/e-commerce and entertainment (is it surprising!)
  • IT/ITES ( not at all surprising)

Whereas the following sectors seem to have weaker correlation between the two themes.

  • Telecom/ISP sector


  1. Developing leaders, while important for most organisations, some sectors have successfully reaped the benefit for their business growth. Example companies like Shell, BP, and Murphy Oil have done a marvellous job in sustained process of building a succession bench strength for their companies. Similarly media and entertainment (eg Publicis, McCann) or IT/ ITES (eg Infosys, Wipro, and Cognizant) would have invested and built bench strength. Successes of creating large corporations over decades of constructive investment in building leaders within these three sectors is the proof of the pudding!
  2. Other sectors do seem to have companies that have built strong pipeline of leaders, however, when we dig deeper, we find that some key leadership roles are filled externally and the organisations struggle in the medium term to create right culture, calibre and capability.
  3. Finally, leadership and culture are almost like two sides of the same coin! Strong leadership drives desired culture. That is a given. However, is there enough evidence the other way around? ie “strong culture produces strong leaders?” Is that statement validated?


Authors Note: Views expressed by Chandru Pingali, Founder of ICube are from his experience backed by data from, a web-enabled, people strategy & solutions tool that enables leaders to discover their strategic agenda on 20 people practices, in under 3 hours with a comprehensive report. ICube works with companies to multiply productivity and performance through effective people management practices.



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