December 16, 2013

| By Daniel Schroeder

Read the Full Article Here

Leadership development generates ROI

Question:

"I enjoyed reading your column, 'Avoid the pitfalls of failed leaders,' in the Nov. 11-24 issue of BizTimes Milwaukee. You referenced four elements that comprise effective leadership development programs. Can you elaborate on these elements?"

Answer:

That column explored the four "pillars" of leadership development programs (Infrastructure, Identifying Participants, Program/Content, and Evaluating Effectiveness). In this column, I will use a case study to explore each of the four pillars in some detail.

Leadership effectiveness drives organizational effectiveness. Excellent leaders produce excellent results. Poor leaders produce poor results. From this perspective, a central question becomes, "What is the organization doing on a systematic and ongoing basis to cultivate and expand the contributions and capabilities of its leaders?"

The case study I will use in this column involves Environmental Systems Inc. (ESI), a Brookfield -based professional services firm, that provides technology and services for facilities that improve efficiency and sustainability, reduce operating cost and increase comfort, productivity, and safety. Founded in 1986, ESI offers a wide range of technology and services in the areas of automation, system integration, energy management, security, life safety, building operations, software applications, support services, and education.

ESI has established a set of core beliefs that guide the company's practices. A commitment to leadership development is just one example of how the company "walks the talk" along these lines. The program is championed by Ernie Allen, ESI's vice president for corporate education, who directs the company's Environmental Systems University (ESU).

I recently spoke with Allen about ESI's leadership development program to learn more about the company's practices relative to the four pillars of leadership development.

Read the highlights of my discussion with Mr. Allen here.