The State of Leadership Development in Small and Mid-Sized Businesses (SMBs) Complimentary Whitepaper

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A.J. O’Connor Associates (AJO) releases a study on leadership development in small and mid-sized businesses in an effort to shed light on the talent management practices, opportunities and challenges within emerging to medium sized organizations.

State of Leadership Development in SMBs - Full Report Cover
It’s clear from our study and our client conversations that there’s as great a need and desire to strengthen leadership pipelines and build high-performing teams as in large organizations with whom we partner.

Small and mid-size businesses (SMBs) contribute more than 99% to the U.S. GDP and account for more than two-thirds of all new jobs in recent decades. In spite of their contribution to the U.S. economy, very little attention has been paid to leadership development practices in smaller organizations. Not surprisingly, most studies explore talent management practices in large organizations where resources and sophistication levels are typically greater. These best practice examples are usually out of the reach of small to mid-sized enterprises, placing them increasingly at a disadvantage as the war for talent heats up in their industries.

The purpose of AJO’s study was to identify leadership development challenges, opportunities and best practices within a small group of SMBs in the greater New Jersey/New York area, and to benchmark SMBs with the larger organizations with whom they compete for talent.

What We Learned:

1.) Leadership pipelines are weaker than current capabilities in SMBs. Talent identification and development is rudimentary overall. Demographic changes and pending skill shortages will make hiring and developing talent a strategic imperative for SMBs to effectively compete for talent with large organizations in their industry sectors.

2.) Overall sophistication levels are low when it comes to leadership development and talent management. HR awareness and concern is high in contrast.

3.) Limited resources (time and budget) and fragmented approaches are the biggest impediments to implementing integrated talent management initiatives. More than three in four respondents cited CEO/Senior Leadership sponsorship as the most important factor contributing to successful team and leadership development.

The State of Leadership Development in SMBs is available as a complimentary download and includes:

1.) Executive Summary: Provides an overview of the key results from 18 SMBs who participated. Eight of the study’s twelve infographics are included with an overview of important takeaways.

2.) The State of Leadership Development in SMBs: Provides insights to the importance, maturity and key talent management challenges of SMBs. The study offers best practices and insights from additional articles and studies.

3.) Current Initiatives: Respondents share their goals, programs and current approaches.

4.) What’s Working: Insights to factors critical for success, as well as initiatives planned or underway in participating organizations.

“The study will be of interest to HR and Senior Leaders within emerging, small and medium sized organizations”, advised Andy O’Connor, President of AJO. “It’s clear from our study and our client conversations that there’s as great a need and desire to strengthen leadership pipelines and build high-performing teams as in large organizations with whom we partner.”

AJO’s VP, Team & Leadership Development, Bill Accordino suggests, “One approach for SMBs is to channel your development efforts into team-based execution aimed at turning strategic intent into desired business results. Start by building a solid foundation of strategic clarity and alignment, foster high-performing teamwork and develop engaged leaders who can drive change. Your end goal is to create leaders and teams who are aligned and working together to achieve the highest levels of performance, which in turn will translate to a strong ROI."

Click here to download “The State of Leadership Development in SMBs”

About A.J. O'Connor Associates

For over 34 years, AJO has been a trusted HR partner to small and mid-sized businesses, as well as prestigious large organizations, including Fortune 500 companies. As strategic HR consultants, we specialize in identifying and developing high-potentials; building high-performing teams; coaching and skill-building leaders at all organization levels; and career transition/outplacement.

Headquartered in New Jersey, AJO has established a strong client base throughout the northeastern United States. We offer national and international reach through our team of 100+ Executive/Leadership and Career Coaches, delivering services in 30 states and 20 countries.

We are proud of our long and dedicated partnership with human resources executives and senior business leaders and appreciative of the strong relationships we have fostered with our clients.

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Andy O'Connor

Pam Grosicki
since: 05/2010
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