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The $3,157,894 Question

Leadership Practices:
What’s Proven. What’s “Worth Less.”

Title: The $3,157,894 Question

According to our calculations based on a recent study by Kennedy Consulting, organizations spend $3,157,894 per hour on leadership development. But are we investing those dollars wisely?

It’s a fair question. Over a six-year period, we measured the quality of leadership in thousands of organizations. In 2009, only 37 percent of organizations thought they had high-quality leaders. A half-dozen years later, that number had jumped only three percentage points. Even more concerning: DDI’s Global Leadership Forecast 2014 | 2015 showed that only 15 percent of our research sample felt they had a ready bench of leaders capable of meeting future business challenges.

What's the problem? We think it boils down to one thing: We aren’t sure what works and what doesn’t. Supposed “best practices” are not really best at all; they are common practices, more widely applied than proven. There’s an oft-quoted saying about marketing: Half works, we just don’t know which half! The same can be said about making better leaders.

Then again, much has changed in recent years. With the advent of analytics, we are embracing new tools and technologies with greater confidence that what we are putting in place will have the intended impact. We are learning new skills to serve a changing workplace and an ever-accelerating global economy. We are hiring data scientists, and we are more closely partnering with our CFOs and CTOs. In sum, our efforts can be defined as grounded less in guessing and more in knowing.

This site is designed to help you along the journey toward a leadership development function defined by big data and research-supported insights. Here are 19 leadership-related practices across eight critical areas that either are proven or if not worthless, are, well, worth less than the practices that are truly proven.

The yardstick for the relative merits of each practice is DDI’s comprehensive and unmatched Leadership Databank, which includes data encompassing more than 62,000 leaders in thousands of organizations across dozens of countries and industries.

DDI’s Leadership Databank shows which practices are really the best—and which ones to revise or abandon.

Talk to an Expert: The $3,157,894 Question
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