The Future of Leadership Development

As the Future of Leadership Development is going to be the topic of sessions we are running at conferences in Brussels and London (links below), we thought we’d give it some ‘air-time’ here.

A good starting point is to look at the process by which leadership development itself progresses. And one way of thinking about the progression of Leadership Development is to apply a perspective from the topic itself; the idea of lateral and vertical development, or technical and adaptive change, as it is also known.


Lateral development is a bit like being offered a ‘lateral’ move, i.e. sideways rather than upwards. In Leadership Development evolution, lateral development could be thought of as being additive rather than progressive. Lateral developments are really the refining of existing approaches. An example would be adopting technology to work with geographically dispersed cohorts, the introduction of different models of Executive Coaching, the identification of new competencies of global leaders, Level Five leadership etc, etc. What these developments don’t do is redefine leadership development with a new level of thought, or introduce genuinely new perspectives.

So what have been the truly adaptive developments in Leadership Development thinking? Where is the disruption and the discontinuity?

In the coming weeks we’ll be looking at some examples of adaptive development in Leadership Development from our own current practice with clients: e.g. developing leadership as a business function rather than developing individual leaders; leader-led development (but for real, i.e. not just leaders topping-and-tailing events); leadership development as group and individual inquiry rather than pre-fabricated solution; and Applied Leadership Development (real existing day-to-day work as the development vehicle).


We will be speaking at the following two conferences in the next couple of months:

Talent Management and Leadership Development Summit 2015

When: 22 October 2015 – 9:30am to 5:00pm
Where: Hilton Hotel, Canary Wharf, London

Find out more and sign up

Future of leadership seminar

When: 19-20 November 2015
Where: Brussel, Belgium

Find out more and sign up