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Mastering the Challenges of Leading Change by H. James Dallas

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Chapter 12Developing Talent as a Sponsor

Leaders who are invested in change must also invest in talent. You should be constantly on the lookout for future leaders to groom and position for success in the organization. And at any given time, you should have several people in mind who are on track to be qualified and ready to replace you when you move up or out of the organization.

In my experience, formal leadership development programs are too superficial to prepare employees to shoulder the challenges of change. They generally offer some type of personality assessment and feature lectures by professors or authors. Really lucky “high-potential employees” might find themselves on an international trip. Such a trip might be good for retention, but doesn't do much in the way of training. Overall, formal leadership development is too academic, and can't be relied on to develop the experience and grit that are needed to succeed in any position of significant responsibility.

My own approach to developing talent, I will admit, requires a significant investment of your own time and energy. But the returns are great, providing the best means of sustaining and leveraging change. On top of that, there is a multiplier effect, because your approach with those who you sponsor will influence their approach with others. It's satisfying when you realize that by investing in one person, you're in fact impacting many.

I recommend that change leaders focus their effort on sponsorship rather than ...

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