ldfWhat differentiates successful leaders is not so much their philosophy of leadership, their personality, or their style of management. Rather, the key difference is how they inquire into and interpret their environment. A strong clue in this regard is usually found in what questions they ask and especially in what questions they don’t ask when trying to work out a problem and come up with a solution.

In our experience few leaders try to understand their own mental model for meaning making and fewer still have explored the possibility of changing it. Yet a leader’s capacity to deal with complexity and ability to think strategically is closely related to this internal model of meaning making.

The Harthill Leadership Development Profile

We have been looking for a suitable tool to assists leaders in developing this capacity and became aware of the Harthill Leadership Development Profile (LDP) in 2014.  Seeing its potential in conjunction with coaching, we decided to get certification to use and debrief the tool. The Harthill LDP is unique in being able to discern the underlying ‘action logic‘ of how we view and try to understand the world around us. This ‘action logic’ is not fixed, it changes in line with our cognitive development in adulthood. As a result, the tool can be used both to understand where a leader is currently at and to reach the next stage in development.

A good introduction to the model can be found in the HBR article ‘The Seven Transformations of Leadership‘. The main stages of development and the percentage of senior executives and consultants profiling at them are outlined in the graph below:

What Is The Harthill LDP Used For?

To see how critical it is for companies to know where their senior leaders are at on this journey, take a look at the recent PWC report ‘The Hidden Talent‘. This report explores why so many leaders who have reached the Strategist stage leave large organisations and become (independent) consultants instead. Preventing your most capable leaders from departing should be of paramount concern to any organisation operating in a changing environment. In addition, this model and tool are well-suited to testing if a person is ready for promotion into a senior leadership role.

We believe that the Harthill LDP is an excellent tool to assist in the development of senior leaders and also as part of talent development programs. The tool has been used by Leadership Victoria in it’s much sought-after Williamson Leadership program for the last few years. For more information about this tool and how it can be integrated into existing programs, please contact us.

If you would like to read some examples of how this tool can assist in developing senior leaders, please check out these blog posts:

  1. Why Putting Technical Specialists in GM roles doesn’t work
  2. Why Are Good Leaders So Rare?
  3. Why Some People Just Need to be Right

Take a look at a sample report by clicking on the image below: