One of the most important Human Capital topics at companies today is leadership development and succession planning. Hundreds of millions of dollars are expended each year preparing leaders for today's and tomorrow's challenges, however most companies never see a positive return on these investments because development programs are either not linked to drive business results or success planning is narrowly focused on those directly within sight.

The need for exceptional leadership at all levels has never been clearer. In a recent BCG survey of over 4000 leaders and HR leaders worldwide, respondents highlighted "Improving leadership development" as amongst the highest business priorities. However, respondents also highlighted that "Improving Leadership" was among their company's most significant weaknesses. Among the factors that handicap leadership initiatives are focus on certification versus learning, fragmented talent management systems, and a disconnect between capabilities and business strategy, and how to effectively identify and place rising stars.

BCG believes that the key to sustainable business outperformance is a tight link between leadership and value creation. Either done in isolation of the other leads to inferior, unstable outcomes. Taken together and tightly integrated with value creation, leadership development can be an engine by which companies consistently outperform against objectives—and competitors. Companies with strong leadership and talent management practices increase their revenues 2.2 times faster and their profits 1.5 times faster than companies with weak practices, according to a survey of more than 1,260 companies conducted by The Boston Consulting Group (BCG).

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