Global Leadership Collaborative

Doug Ready

How to Grow Great Leaders

Harvard Business Review, December 2004


The biggest test that rising leaders face is aggressively championing a business unit while looking out for the enterprise as a whole. Helping them meet this challenge demands a new approach to leadership development. The article identifies three barriers that prevent many companies from developing a free and flowing pipeline of next-generation leaders:

Organizational silos that prevent the cross-fertilization of talent across business units

A lack of mechanisms that facilitate the airing and resolution of embedded conflicts within organizations

Well-intended but misaligned reward systems that perpetuate developing leaders reflective of yesterday's business model

Doug Ready uses RBC Financial Group as a case example of what companies should do to develop great leaders.

· Purchase this article from HBR online.

Why Leadership Development Efforts Fail
Sloan Management Review, Spring 2003

Companies are spending more time and resources on developing leaders, but they can fall into several pitfalls along the way. This article examines three pathologies which could be the root of the failure of so many leadership programs:

The “Ownership Is Power” mindset

The productization of leadership development

Make-believe metrics

The article provides practical solutions to overcoming these pitfalls, and a case example at IBM offers additional keys to creating the next generation of leaders.

· Purchase this article from SMR online.

Characteristics of Great Leader-builder Companies Business Strategy Review, Autumn 2004

Companies that want to do a great job of developing leaders first have to learn how to become great leader-builder companies. Instead of focusing more attention on the traits of effective leaders, it’s time to focus on what makes effective leader-builder companies.

· Purchase this article from LBS online.

How Storytelling Builds Next Generation Leaders Sloan Management Review, Summer 2002

Companies need to develop leaders who can translate strategy into results and core values into day-to-day behaviors. But many organizations find they do this crucial work inadequately.

Storytelling can be one of the most effective means of developing leaders. This article delves into the various elements that make storytelling effective. A case example shows how RBC Financial Group has used storytelling to overcome the hurdles of developing their next generation of leaders, and the article includes techniques to help companies implement storytelling within their organization.

· Purchase this article from SMR online.

Leading at the Enterprise Level
Sloan Management Review, Spring 2004

To provide a broad-based customer perspective, companies must link their overall strategy with their organizational capabilities and leadership development efforts. It may sound easy, but it’s an unnatural organizational act. To achieve this goal, companies must be able to answer three essential questions:

What does it mean to lead with an enterprise perspective—what are the key elements of the enterprise leader’s job?

Why is learning to lead at the enterprise level such a difficult challenge?

What can companies do to identify and develop next-generation leaders?

· Purchase this article from SMR online.

Learning Styles: What’s Right for Your Enterprise Chief Learning Officer, November 2002

Just as many of our organizations’ strategies are moving away from a product-centric orientation to a customer-centric orientation, so should learning and development move away from the product-centric approach to a more customer-centric approach. In order to get it right, it is critical to find a four-way fit among your firm’s key organizational capability requirements, the customer of your learning initiatives, the context in which the learning will take place , and the various learning approaches that will facilitate optimal learning.

· To view this article, visit CLO.

Too many competency models are too complicated, and too many are built on the company’s current situation rather than its future goals—these models can identify the wrong individuals as potential leaders.

This article offers solid advice on how to make competencies work in your organization.

· Purchase this Article

Rethinking Leadership Competencies
Leader to Leader, Spring 2004

Doug Ready has written many articles on leadership development for the world’s top journals, including Harvard Business Review, Sloan Management Review, Business Strategy Review, and Leader to Leader. Below are abstracts of some of his articles, along with links to either view the article or purchase it from the publisher.

Featured Articles:

· Building a Game-Changing Talent Strategy

· The Power of Collective Ambition

· Are you a high potential?

· Winning the Race for Talent in Emerging Markets

· Enabling Bold Visions

· Make Your Company a Talent Factory

· Is Your Company Failing its Leaders?

· How to Grow Great Leaders

· Characteristics of Great Leader-builder Companies

· Leading at the Enterprise Level

· Rethinking Leadership Competencies

· Why Leadership Development Efforts Fail

· How Storytelling Builds Next Generation Leaders

· Learning Styles: What’s Right for Your Enterprise



Telephone: +1-781-862-6633  Fax: +1-781-862-6211

1666 Massachusetts Avenue, Lexington, MA 02420 USA

“By far the largest distinctive contribution is to provide big ideas with a practical application. This is an important wake-up call for business schools and bad news for people who are fantastic teachers but teach other people’s ideas.


Doug Ready quoted in

Learning to Move with the Times

Financial Times, by Della Bradshaw, May 17, 2004

· View this article.

Face-to-face storytelling is the best way to transfer a lot of know-how.

Doug Ready quoted in USA Today, by Del Jones, September 19, 2004

· View this article.

“The vast majority of leadership development initiatives still take place in the very silos that the organizations are trying to transform.”


How to Grow Great Leaders,
Harvard Business Review,

Doug Ready, December 2004

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Is Your Company Failing its Leaders?

Business Strategy Review, Winter 2005

Executives don’t always fail an organization on their own—they have plenty of help along the way. This article asks not why leaders fail their companies, but why organizations repeatedly fail their leaders.

· Purchase this article from LBS online.

Make Your Company a Talent Factory

Harvard Business Review, June 2007


Despite the great sums of money companies dedicate to talent management systems, many still struggle to fill key positions-limiting their potential for growth in the process. Virtually all the human resource executives in a 2005 survey of 40 companies around the world said that their pipeline of high-potential employees was insufficient to fill strategic management roles. The survey revealed two primary reasons for this:

Formal procedures for identifying and developing next-generation leaders have fallen out of sync with what companies need to grow or expand into new markets.

HR executives often have trouble keeping top leaders' attention on talent issues, despite those leaders' vigorous assertions that obtaining and keeping the best people is a major priority.

Doug Ready and Jay Conger use HSBC and Procter & Gamble as case examples of companies that not only manage talent but build talent factories.

· Purchase this article from HBR online.

“Any company aiming to grow—and, in particular, to grow on the global stage—has little hope of achieving its goals without the ability to put the right people on the ground, and fast.”


Make Your Company a Talent Factory, Harvard Business Review, Doug Ready and Jay Conger, June 2007

Enabling Bold Visions
Sloan Management Review, Winter 2008

A CEO’s new vision can often blur into an indistinct image once the initial blitz is over. This gap between inspiration and implementation is a common one. This article explains several common reasons for the derailment of bold visions. The article also offers a five-phase framework that executives can use to ensure their visions become reality.

· Purchase this article from SMR online.

Are you a high potential? 

Harvard Business Review, June 2010

Doug Ready, Linda Hill and Jay Conger

High potentials deliver strong results, master new types of expertise and recognize that behavior counts. But it is their intangible X factors that truly distinguish them from the pack. This article discusses those factors.  Purchase this article from HBR online.

Winning the Race for Talent in Emerging Markets

Harvard Business Review, November 2008

Doug Ready, Linda Hill and Jay Conger

This article addresses many of the challenges faced by multinational companies in emerging markets.

· Purchase this article from HBR online.

The Power of Collective Ambition

Harvard Business Review, December 2011

Doug Ready and Emily Truelove

The latest recession hit hard, and many businesses suffered serious damage. But some came out stronger than ever. There were winners even in industries where you might have expected the most serious blows—luxury businesses like hospitality and beauty, for instance. A handful of players, in those industries and others, not only weathered the storm but found a renewed sense of purpose. How did they become the exceptions?

Purchase this article from HBR online.

Building a Game-Changing Talent Strategy

Harvard Business Review, January-February 2014

Doug Ready, Linda Hill and Robert Thomas

The authors looked at BlackRock, Tata Group, and Envision and found these three companies demonstrate the essential attributes of a game-changing organization: They are driven by purpose, oriented toward performance, and guided by principles. In the process of conducting interviews with these companies, the authors discovered a fourth thread that weaves them even more tightly together: Each is supported by a game-changing talent strategy.

Purchase this article from HBR online.