New Zealand’s leadership challenge

Strong leadership is directly correlated to the financial success of a business; however, the programmes to help people become better leaders often seem to fail to deliver measurable impact. Our Leadership Practice Leader, Andy Clayton, offers some steps that organisations can take to address the issue. 

Research undertaken by Deloitte shows that one of the most important strategic differentiators for an organisation is the leadership of their people. Businesses with strong leaders are 2.3 times more likely to financially outperform peers. On the other hand, businesses that are perceived to have ineffective leadership experience a 19.8% equity loss.

Deloitte’s 2016 Human Capital Survey identifies leadership as the number two concern among HR and business leaders based in Australia and New Zealand, signaling that it is a priority issue.  This is unsurprising considering that 40% of respondents stated that their current leadership programmes provide only some value and 24% said that they yield little or no value.  These results suggest that the leadership development world continues to be dominated by myths and fads - programmes that often promote superficial solutions which appear effective, but fail to help leaders learn and do not deliver measurable impact.

Looking beyond the latest fads, there are a few steps that organisations can take to address this leadership issue:

Identify and foster teams of leaders  

Perhaps it’s the famous ‘she’ll be right’ attitude that gets Kiwi organisations in trouble in terms of developing leaders. It’s often thought that great leaders don’t have to work at it – they are just naturals. Leadership can be, and in leading organisations often is, the result of a deliberate plan combined with measurable evaluation. It’s something that can be worked at, not just reserved for the lucky few who get it at birth. 

An important goal for most organisations is to develop new models of leadership teams, combining leaders of different generations and perspectives.  

Take a fresh, hard look at your leadership development strategy 

While high-performing companies outspend their competitors on leadership by almost four times, they also spend smarter.

They develop an integrated system of leadership that includes a specific leadership strategy, leadership assessments to measure individual and team capability, blend learning programs with stretch assignments, offer intensive coaching and provide continuous opportunities for leadership development.

Identify leaders early

The ability to identify great leaders as early as possible is an important way to deepen the leadership talent pool and promote dramatic change. The use of evidence and analytics can identify leaders who can be ‘fast tracked’ to roles where, on paper, they have little or no experience.

Organisations need to perceive leadership as a business issue as opposed to a people issue as the benefits that great leadership can bring are both wide-reaching and profound.


I am passionate about helping businesses improve the quality of their leadership whether it’s through defining a leadership strategy, assessing capabilities, identifying high-fliers or upskilling staff. I am energised by working closely with clients, understanding their bespoke needs and supporting them in a manner that delivers measurable business impact.