A business-management guide promotes a comprehensive approach to leadership development, steeped in process-oriented strategy.
Using his own and outside research, human resources professional van Dongen (Leadership Development in International Organizations, 2013) lays out a well-integrated, thoughtful plan in his latest book. He rightly emphasizes the need for businesses to focus on developing the next generation of leaders, which he says is a surprisingly neglected aspect of management. His remedy: a four-part, highly structured process that one can measure with a sophisticated auditing system, involving 35 audit questions across eight specific factors. The book is both explanatory and demonstrative as it begins with a short history of leadership theory followed by an explanation of the four phases, or “blocks,” of his development process: “Strategic Embedding” of HR and leadership development; “Defining and Finding Talent”; “Phase-Based Development”; and “Organisational Prerequisites and Low-Hanging Fruits.” The author defines and explores each block in highly detailed text that integrates the aforementioned audit questions. He then visualizes his process with the aid of two key flowcharts: the “Human Capital Roadmap,” a useful overview of the entire HR process, including contact and recruitment, entry and onboarding, performance development, performance-gap assessment, and exit from the company; and the “HEART” model, which puts a graphical face on the four-phase development process above. Together, these charts clearly outline van Dongen’s overall strategy. Accompanying this broader explanation is an in-depth demonstration of how the HEART model works, presented through three detailed case studies. Each one shows exactly how a large company implemented the author’s model, along with a full assessment of its success. This section effectively brings the theoretical aspects of the process down to a practical level. At times, the text can be a bit formal and ponderous, but the overall content may greatly benefit senior executives and HR directors, particularly those in larger companies.
A scrupulously researched and expertly organized leadership development manual.