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How to Identify the Best Candidates for Leadership Training

Leadership training programs offer your organization many important benefits, including:

  • A cost-effective and efficient way to fill your top jobs by promoting excellent performers from within your organization.
  • A powerful motivator that encourages your most talented managers to stay in your company for the long term.
  • An opportunity to create a strong cross-functional leadership team of individuals who bring extensive experience from different sectors of your organization.

Those are all important reasons to invest in leadership training. But before you start to design a leadership training program, let’s take a step back and ask an important preliminary question . . .

How can you select the best candidates to take part in your leadership training?

In a Breakthrough Ideas in Training webinar for Tortal Training Dr. Keith Halperin, Senior Partner at Korn Ferry, outlined these four “leadership dimensions” that should influence your choice of trainees and your training goals.

Experience – For the Korn Ferry leadership consulting team, experience is part of a process. Dr. Halperin and his team identify the most critical experiences that a company’s leaders have had in the past. They then create training that exposes leadership trainees to those same experiences.

Traits – These are specific competencies that leaders need in order to be successful in your organization. Identifying them requires study of your current leaders. Do they have experience doing business internationally, for example? Are they keen marketers, communicators, financial analysts, or something else? Once you have a fuller picture of key traits, you can select the strongest candidates and design training that cultivates the traits that they will need as they move into leadership positions.

Drivers – “Leading is hard work that takes energy and passion,” Dr. Halperin told the webinar. Before selecting candidates for leadership training, it is important to evaluate whether they really have the drive to want to handle the challenges of top leadership positions, or whether they’ll take your training just because it’s the next step up the ladder.

Competencies – Competencies are abilities that leaders are capable of developing. In his webinar, Dr. Halperin cited “Learning Agility” as one of the most important; it means a person’s ability to move into unknown situations, adjust to uncertainty, and understand what needs to be done. Learning agility also means the ability to learn lessons from past experiences that apply to new situations. Other competencies can include the abilities to earn trust, lead change and create a culture of innovation.

About Evan Hackel

Evan Hackel is CEO of Tortal Training, a leading training development company, and principal and founder of Ingage Consulting. He is the host of Training Unleashed podcast, and author of the book Ingaging Leadership. Evan speaks on Seeking Excellence, Better Together, Ingaging Leadership, and Attitude is Everything. To hire Evan as a speaker, visit evanhackelspeaks.com and follow Evan on Twitter @ehackel.

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What CEOs and C-Suite Leaders Really Want

Chris Westfall Leadership Meeting

What do leaders really want?
That’s the question that IBM asked over 1500 CEOs: what’s the number one quality you look for, in a leader?

From Dubai to Dubuque, and everywhere in between, CEOs weighed in on the most desired aspect of leadership.

Surprisingly, the most-desired quality or characteristic was not technical competence.

It wasn’t loyalty, or communication skills, or financial acumen.

The top characteristic wasn’t charisma. Or empathy.

The number-one most important characteristic for business leaders?


That characteristic is quite surprising, when you consider the traditional definition of creativity.  Under careful consideration, “being creative” is not always a positive and encouraging description.

Related: Find out what Entrepreneur has to say, about Identifying Your Blind Spot

For financial professionals, project managers, executives and other task- or numbers-oriented individuals, the call for creativity seems quite contrary to the training and experiences that form the very foundation of the business world.

For example: Where do you find creative accountants?
Answer: Jail.

“Creative” skills are not commonplace in shipping, accounts payable, or operations.  Or are they?

Creativity, in the context of business, means the power of creation.  Creativity is the way that leaders harness imagination to disrupt the status quo, and find new solutions to the same old problems. The global leaders in the IBM survey are seeking creative solutions to business challenges.  The leaders in the survey identify creativity as the antidote for the status quo.

For leaders, creativity is a vital disruption. Creativity is the birthplace of innovation.

Creativity can exist anywhere a process is created or improved. That means in shipping, accounts payable, or operations. And especially in the C-Suite.

Creativity means many things, but at its core, the process of creation begins with an idea.

Based on current information, “what if?” opens the door to imagination. New solutions can only come from within the realm of new ideas.  As the economy continues to expand, the leaders of tomorrow are the ones who are open to new concepts, new perspectives and new solutions.  Seeing things as they are is an important skill.

But, for C-Suite leaders: seeing things as they could be – and then making them that way? Well, that takes some creativity.

  • Do you agree? What does creativity mean to you, and to your organization?
  • How do you develop a workplace where creativity is allowed to thrive?
  • How is creativity linked to innovation for you?


About the Author:

Chris Westfall is the publisher of seven books, including the international best-seller, The NEW Elevator Pitch. His latest title is Leadership Language: Communication Skills for Changing Your Results, coming from Wiley in the fall of 2018. Find out more on his website, and follow him on twitter.



photo credit: Philadelphia Business Meeting image by the author

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