The Winning Formula


The CIPD report on the future of leadership development

It’s strange how in the world of business you can plough a furrowed field – often alone – for which seems like an eternity and all of a sudden you are surrounded by people who understand your unique proposition and who are happy to announce the merits of your activity to the world.

Well that is what it feels like at the moment with regard to The Winning Formula® framework.

In 2012 our framework approach to developing client leaders in the workplace was given the thumbs up by no less an authority than the influential and internationally recognised Chartered Institute of Personnel Development.

The CIPD announced that “the days of sheep-dip leadership and management training are over” and that “a new type of leadership is needed in modern organisations”.

Their press release highlighted ‘the need for a new breed of leadership, which requires development programmes aligned with corporate culture, values and priorities.

A new type of leadership is needed in modern organisations in order to build positive workplace cultures that get the best out of people and support innovation, empowerment and ethical behaviour.

The report is titled ‘Perspectives on leadership in 2012: Implications for HR’.

As you can imagine we were delighted with the CIPD findings. We have been communicating the same message for over a decade now. Our Winning Formula® framework was developed around vision, values, objectives, culture and the link with the execution of the strategy in the workplace.

Many of you will know that since 1995 we have focused our efforts on developing, refining and promoting this approach. We are pleased that our framework and methods have been recognised as the way forward for leadership development in the future.

Common sense and listening to leaders

The report authors, Rachel Lewis and Emma Donaldson-Feilder, have examined the elements of three emerging strands of leadership theory; relational leadership, values-based leadership and contextual leadership. These theories form the basis of the future of leadership and leadership development.

However, it’s worth noting that the Winning Formula® framework was developed on the back of client feedback, evidence-based work and straightforward common sense. Leadership theory did not play an important part in its development particularly in the early days. It’s only in recent years that we realise that various ‘strands of leadership theory’ underpin and support our approach.

We focused our attention in the pioneering days on answering ten important questions.

  1. What is the ‘leader at the top’ trying to achieve for the organisation?
  2. What is the long term vision for the organisation?
  3. What challenges and obstacles will need to be addressed?
  4. How will the vision be achieved?
  5. How will support be obtained from others?
  6. What values and cultural behaviours should be demonstrated by others?
  7. What will the leaders role be in the organisation?
  8. What key milestones and objectives will be put in place to measure progress?
  9. Why should individuals support the leader’s future plans for the organisation?
  10. Where should the leaders focus their day to day attention in the workplace?

We worked with and helped our clients to answer these and other questions. Over time The Winning Formula® framework earned a reputation as a powerful, practical and empowering approach to leadership development and ultimately the delivery of growth and performance in any organisation.

Leadership and growth are inextricably linked. You can’t have one without the other.

Used strategically, The Winning Formula® framework enables leaders to produce spectacular growth results for their organisations.

Used tactically, it enables them to refocus and re-energise their people and their organisations.

Used sensibly, the framework addresses all of the issues raised in the CIPD report.

Leadership issues in the report

The report summarises the main developments in recent leadership theory and leadership development, as well as the key role of HR in building leadership capability.

It also highlights various factors that are influencing leadership theory, including falling levels of trust in political and business leadership as a result of the recent financial crisis, the MPs expenses scandal and public concern over excessive boardroom pay, bonuses and rewards for failure.

Issues such as the quality of the relationship between the leader and their direct report, and the importance of leaders who are self-aware and can display honesty, integrity and strongly held ethical and moral principles are highlighted.

How leadership is influenced by the culture and systems of the organisation as a whole, for example, by its values and the extent to which managers are empowered to lead at all levels of an organisation are also highlighted in the report.

The report also highlights key insights for leadership development, for example, evidence suggesting that if a manager regards themselves as a leader they are more likely to behave like one. Managers must also want to learn if development activities are to have any impact so a focus on understanding why people might be motivated to become leaders is also crucial.

The role of Human Resources

Finally the report examines the critical role of HR in developing leadership capability by

  • Defining what good leadership is
  • Developing leadership and follower skills
  • Creating systems, processes and policies that support good leadership
  • Creating conditions in which the value of leadership is recognised
  • Ensuring that leadership development frameworks are aligned with organisations’ core purpose and values
  • Deploying a range of ongoing learning interventions to support sustained behaviour change.

Peter Cheese, CEO at the CIPD, comments: “Leadership is no longer just about the boardroom; managers at all levels need leadership skills – the power to win people’s hearts and minds and build relationships based on mutual trust and respect.”

He adds “In an increasingly knowledge-based economy, the key to performance is through engaging employees in ways that produce discretionary effort and creating an environment which encourages greater employee empowerment and voice to facilitate the exchange of ideas and know-how.”

“In order to build this type of leadership capability, the role of HR is fundamental. HR needs to ensure that how managers are recruited, managed, trained and promoted supports the development of required leadership skills and behaviours. HR must ensure that leadership development frameworks are aligned with organisations’ core purpose and values and understand how to deploy a range of ongoing learning interventions that actually lead to sustained behaviour change. The days of sheep-dip manager training are over.”

The full report can be found here:


If you would like to hear more about The Winning Formula® framework and the link with leadership development and the growth of your organisation, please drop us a line. We would be delighted to hear from you. Our framework has won two national training awards – the equivalent of Michelin Stars – and we would love the opportunity to share our approach with you.

Best wishes on your journey, wherever it may take you