The Leadership Development Library was born out of our experience. Below you will find our story, and a little more about what the leadership development library is and is not.
THE STORY BEHIND THE LIBRARY
I spent nine years managing the training and development and leadership development functions for organizations before moving into executive leadership roles. In my final role, I managed leadership development and succession planning for a global organization with employees numbering in the tens of thousands, with 16 different international centers, located on every continent.
As is common, at one point it was time for my team and I to create an updated leadership competencies model and framework for the organization. That is when the idea for this project was first considered.
The immediate decision we were presented was whether to “build” or “buy” the competencies content we needed. We knew we didn’t have time to build it all from scratch. At the same time, we hit dead ends trying to identify a leadership competencies solution to purchase.
Every vendor we studied had a defined number of and suite of selected competencies, but no one had everything we thought we needed. We also couldn’t identify a solution we could customize to meet our needs without having to pay extra for it, or one we could purchase within our budget constraints.
We ended up partnering with a vendor that didn’t completely meet our needs, paid extra to customize their content, and spent way more money than we wanted to. The partnership lasted only a few years, and it just felt like there had to be a better way.
The experience was frustrating, but it planted the seed of a question. What if there was a single leadership competencies solution that instead of telling you what your leaders should be, presented the universe of what they could be, and then let you choose which leadership competencies matter most? Then, what if you could build that leadership competencies solution from the very beginning with the intent to allow others to customize and brand it based on their unique needs? Finally, what if the business model allowed the solution to be implemented at a cost that every individual and every small, medium, and large organization could afford?
With those questions in mind we set out to create the world’s most comprehensive and definitive leadership competencies library. After two years of initial research and writing, and three years of implementing, learning, and revising, the second version of The Leadership Competencies Library contains seven different ways for defining, assessing and developing 120 leadership competencies.
The Leadership Development Library presents the most comprehensive view of today’s leadership competencies, allowing organizations to choose what matters most to them. It was designed from the very beginning to present a strong content foundation and then be customized and changed by organizations to empower them to meet their unique leadership needs. In addition, it is available at a cost point that makes it possible for every organization to benefit from taking an 85% solution to the finish line, instead of having to start from scratch.
They say the best ideas are forged from the frustrations of people’s real experience, and that the best innovations are those created to help people solve their own problems and meet their own needs. This library represents the solution we wish we had. We believe our needs of yesteryear will prove to be the solution that will best meet your leadership competencies and leadership development needs today.
HOW THE GUIDE WAS CREATED
The second edition of The Leadership Development Library was initially developed over a period of two years, followed by three years of implementing, learning, and revising. The first step was to determine which competencies would be included. We performed a literature review of approximately 30 leadership competencies models and referenced many research studies by leading journals and professional groups. Through our literature review we identified what we felt were the leadership competencies most universally referenced and selected them for final inclusion in The Leadership Development Library.
After determining which leadership competencies would be included, we needed to identify and then create the content for each one. The seven ways we define each leadership competency were selected because of our belief in their key role in the leadership development process.
To write the content another literature review was conducted and the combination of what we learned, combined with our own insights and experience, created the foundation for all of the content in The Leadership Development Library. Our desire and goal was to give the content face validity and make it accurate, accessible, and actionable.
In this second edition, each competency has been parsed, clarified, and simplified. The Leadership Development Library is the most complete leadership resource of its kind.
WHAT THE GUIDE IS AND IS NOT
Our purpose is to empower choice and customization. The Leadership Development Library is not a leadership competencies model. Some researchers will publish a concise definition of what their research suggests is “real leadership.” That is not our intent. We do not suggest that every organization needs to adopt all 120 leadership competencies. Nor do we think every leader can or needs to excel at each competency to be successful. We simply mean for you to choose what matters most to you. Many studies have tried to define the "most important" competencies. We don’t think that is our job. We think that is your job. After all, you know your organization best.
Our research is qualitative. Qualitative research tries to explain things based on observation. Qualitative researchers study their topic and summarize what they see into conclusions. Our library was built on the foundation of strong qualitative research. The content presented is not an attempt to propose scientifically or statistically quantifiable deductions. Our purpose is to summarize the insights we have gained from our research and personal experience with top leaders.
Our content is a broad-brush stroke. There is no way to define all it takes to do a leadership competency in its entirety. There are so many perspectives and situational realities, we think it is unwise and impossible to try and capture it all and claim nothing was missed. If any individual or organization thinks something has been missed in our library, they should add it. Our intent is to spark the creative genius within people to create their own unique leadership solution.