Leadership Development - up close and personal

Over the past 9 months two colleagues at Cornerstone Integral, Mike Griffiths and Mark Keily, conducted research on the drivers of successful Organisation Development initiatives. Their motivation was to explore what worked and what didn’t work through the eyes of leaders responsible for delivering these initiatives and share these insights with the broader Organisation Development community.

Their approach was to conduct in depth interviews with Senior Consulting, Organisation Development, and Human Resources leaders located in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. These interviews occurred with colleagues in health services, manufacturing, engineering services, marketing and sales, infrastructure, emergency services, mining, insurance, supply chain, logistics, consulting and the civil construction industries.

To ensure they gained the broadest perspective from their research they used the Integral Framework to guide their inquiry.

So what did they discover?

They firstly observed what they describe as the Optimism Effect.

This is when a leadership program or other organization intervention is delivered and accompanied by positive participant and organization feedback causing a sense of optimism about the effectiveness of the intervention.

Unfortunately with the inevitable passage of time the intervention loses its glitter as an awareness develops that it was not fully effective.

This invites the second Partially True effect. This is the recognition that most interventions fall short on their initial ambitions and are only partially effective.

The shift from optimism to partially true often causes disillusionment but none of the initiatives reviewed through the research achieved the long lasting benefit sought, desired or expected by the program developers.  None. 

The $64,000 question is, if these effects were observed in the study, what can we do to focus our attention on initiatives that do achieve the outcomes we are seeking?

If this question piques your interest, we invite you to read the white paper soon to be released by Mark Keily and John Eklund where they describe the research in more detail and the link to the Australian wine industry.  They will also share some of their insights and advice about  finding real solutions to organisational dilemmas identified in this research.