Successful and effective running of an organization requires personnel’s acquisition and application of skills such as strategy development, critical thinking, change management, and policy execution. It is important for organizational leaders around the world to acquire and sharpen the mentioned skills to achieve effectiveness and efficiency in their undertakings. Skillful leaders and personnel play a crucial role in the enhancement of organizational productivity. With this perspective in mind, it is unfortunate that many organizations hardly prioritize their leaders’ acquisition of competencies and fundamental leadership skills. As a result, a good number of organizational leaders have an uphill task taking advantage of the mentioned skills that are a path to organizational success. According to the American Management Association, roughly 50 percent of organizations acknowledge the development and improvement of leadership skills as fundamental to organizational growth and success. It is further surprising that among the 50 percent of organizations that find development of leadership to be important, only 33 percent argue that their approaches are effective.
Dow Chemical Company is one of the organizations that acknowledge development and improvement of leadership skills. In a bid to sharpen employees’ competencies and skills, the company developed and implements a “Leadership in Action” program. The program saw the company’s global manager for leadership development and the vice president for human resources work together to enhance employee’s leadership skills. The program gave the company’s employees an opportunity to work freely with other non-governmental organizations as well as entrepreneurs (Wagner, 2016). In collaboration with other organizations, the company’s employees, through the program, were able to solve social issues and other problems surrounding sustainability in areas such as public health, education, and sanitation.
Dow Chemical has set sustainability goals that it seeks to achieve by the end of 2025. According to the company’s president, the company’s strategy revolves around its commitment to positively impact the lives and well-being of over one billion persons within ten years or so. The company also firmly believes in doing good to the community. To this effect, the company has over the years been involved in collaborations with other organizations to support and oversee societal and environmental progress (Wagner, 2016). Through collaboration and partnerships, Dow Chemical has managed to improve the well-being of people while remaining at a good position to oversee the establishment of societies that are sustainable.
The “Leadership in Action” program has contributed immensely to the above strategy and achievement of the company’s goals. The program allows the company to use every available human resource to contribute to societal progress. In this regard, the company usually settles on projects that are directly associated with important needs of the community. The Leadership in Action program also churns competent, skillful, and experienced personnel who play a crucial role in the transformation of the world’s key projects (Noe, 2017). Through the program, Dow Chemical has managed to solve issues linked to career development, education, environmental-related issues, and others. Moreover, the Leadership in Action program promotes the organization’s positive relations with other organizations or agencies hence opening up business opportunities for many people.
In addition to the positive experience and lessons learned by the company’s employees throughout the Leadership in Action program, whether the program was successful or not can be determined by the program’s positive effects or outputs. The output of the employees’ activities and everything learned in the program can help to determine whether they gathered the necessary skills in the program (Noe, 2017). For instance, in the event one of the program’s objectives was development of sustainable strategies for reduction of waste in the community, the program’s success would be determined by whether employees acquire and apply skills that help to achieve the objective. Positive outputs on the part of the employees after completion of the program would signal the program’s success.
An advantage of the “Leadership in Action” program is that participants are exposed to real-time challenges faced in the world. In this regard, participants have an opportunity to interact and directly feel global challenges thus testing their skills and competencies in dealing with the challenges. Another advantage of the program when compared to traditional leadership development programs is that its primary focus is on leaders’ undertakings in the field rather than what leaders know. Moreover, unlike other traditional leadership development programs, the “Leadership in Action” program prioritizes the incorporation of leadership development into daily organizational activities.
A disadvantage of the “Leadership in Action” program is the fact that it must run for a long period for benefits to be seen. Such a program that lasts less than two years will have fewer benefits as compared to traditional leadership development programs that run for the same period (Noe, 2017). Another disadvantage of the “Leadership in Action” program is the ineffectiveness that might arise from following a one-size-fits-all approach. Ineffectiveness of the program might not benefit people having different levels of understanding and skills.
Given the numerous advantages of the “Leadership in Action” program, I would be ready to participate in the program. My participation in the program would expose me to real-time challenges. I would have the opportunity to test my skills and competencies in addressing the real-time global challenges.
Noe, R. (2017). Employee training and development. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education.
Wagner, W. (2016). Leadership for a better world: Understanding the social change model of leadership development. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons.