Elevating Leadership Performance Through a Holistic Approach

September 1, 2023
Victoria Rose & Nellie Stansbury

Creating an improvement plan for a member of leadership can be a daunting task. This is why at Denison Consulting we take a holistic approach to improving performance that focuses on both the leader and the company. This approach highlights the importance of the context for creating an improvement or development plan. The Denison Model focuses on the strengths and challenges of the leader as well as the organization’s culture to form contextual situations for creating an improvement plan.

These contextual situations can be broken down into four major categories:

  1. Building on Strengths
  2. Becoming a Change Agent
  3. Getting Up to Speed
  4. Starting from Scratch

It’s important for a leadership coach to know where a client currently is in terms of their personal capabilities and their organization’s current culture. From there, coaches can design their approach. The following contextual situations expand on approaches coaches can take:

Building on Strengths

When the leader has strong capabilities and the company has a robust culture, the coach can help the leader define their unique contributions and help them identify strategies to mentor others. The leader’s strengths are a good fit with the organization and can help boost performance.

Becoming a Change Agent

When a leader has strong capabilities, but the company’s culture has challenges, the coach wants to help the leader build an agenda for change and strategy to help them leverage their strengths to build the company. This goes beyond just gaining visibility but helping them to find a way to leverage their skills to improve the organization.

Getting Up to Speed

When a company’s culture is strong, but the leader has some challenges, the coach wants an intentional approach to help develop that leader in what may be an intimidating situation for the leader. The coach can build awareness of the context and help design a development plan for the leader. This situation is very leadership-development-focused.

Starting from Scratch

When a leader has real limitations in an organization also facing significant challenges, the coach may have a challenge. The coach’s most important contribution may come from their ability to import outside support or in defining the next steps. It’s important that the coach brings both leadership and organizational culture into the conversation and agenda for development.

Organizations today are required to keep up with rapid changes in a global market, multi-generational needs, industry-disrupting technology, and expansive interconnectivity. Many organizations complicate this situation by keeping leadership and organizational development activities separate. The talent agenda is not well integrated with the change agenda and, in some cases, these two activities are even in competition for resources and attention. The more powerful approach is to integrate them directly, and then align the two activities so that they are complementary. This helps to generate a future-oriented perspective for both activities that helps maximize this long-term investment.

To read more on the research in this article check out: “Coaching in Context” by Dr. Dan Denison and Bryan Adkins.

Book a Demo to learn more about the Denison change approach.

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