For frequent airline passengers, the words – “Put your oxygen mask on first” – are very familiar and heard before each flight. Why? Because if you run out of oxygen, you cannot help anyone else who may be struggling with their own oxygen mask.
We know leaders drive performance of an organization, but they often spend too much time running from crisis to crisis, providing oxygen to others, while depriving themselves of the oxygen they need to look and act farther ahead, preparing for future crises and changing times. This narrow focus on short-term results can lead companies to underinvest in the future of their leaders, to enable them to better take care of others and the business.
With the recent conclusion of our inaugural Ascent Fellowship - focused on family-run and founder-led businesses - we have had the honor to spend the past six months with 27 incredible leaders who did take the time to invest in their ability to respond to rapid changes and increase productivity and profits.
Their organizations understood that developing high-performing employees not only improves their performance but also rewards them, becoming a virtuous cycle to attract, retain, and develop the leaders of the future. When tailored to the specific needs of individual leaders, this development becomes particularly effective and powerful.
“Being a senior executive for 25 years, I believed I knew who I was and how to run my business life. Ascent gave me a much clearer picture of myself and helped me define the path to follow in order to become a better professional.”
— Frederic Vieil, President and CEO, Hexagone
Development of leadership need not be a crapshoot, relying only on the lucky few. Evidence shows that most leaders benefit visibly from intensive development when provided core knowledge, opportunities to grow, and networks to support that growth.
Everyone has the capacity to learn, grow, and strengthen the practice of leadership. We applaud our Ascent Fellows for their commitment to personal learning and development.