While there is no magical process for turning less experienced employees into seasoned leaders overnight, there are a number of methods that, if applied strategically in combination, can significantly accelerate leadership development. These leadership development methods work best when they are focused around the core skill of “Influence Across Boundaries.”1
Recent research indicates that leadership in a global context brings with it distinctive challenges such as an increasing number of stakeholders, broader responsibilities, a loss of direct authority, and less accurate market information. It is all too common to hear about high potential employees who are very good at achieving tasks with a clearly defined scope in their home market, but struggle when they are put in charge of projects that involve a more diverse set of stakeholders in distant locations who may have their own priorities. Learning how to exert influence across geographical, functional, and business unit boundaries is the single most important factor in enabling emerging global leaders to get better results.2
Mike Lombardo and Bob Eichinger have referred to a 70/20/10 model for executive development, with seventy percent of learning occurring on the job, twenty percent taking place through contact with bosses, coaches, or mentors, and the remaining ten percent through formal training. It is worth considering each of these three learning elements with an eye to how leaders can cultivate influencing skills.