Leadership Programs Aren’t Working

No question – leadership matters. Organizations with strong leadership benches achieve twice the revenue and profit growth of those with weak benches. However, despite significant investments, leadership and succession initiatives are not performing.

Only 13% of organizations have a strong leadership bench.

Only 28% of leadership roles are currently filled by successors.

46% of leaders moving into new roles fail to meet objectives.

Discoveries from a Groundbreaking Leadership Study

Over the last three years, we conducted one of the largest and most comprehensive studies of what predicts leader success in today’s work environment.

Findings show that the ideal mix of attributes to drive leader success depends on the situation and the contextual challenges that they will face in their role.

We’ve learned that there are 27 contextual leadership challenges that matter most to making or breaking leaders’ performance – and that leaders with certain attributes are likely to be more successful with some challenges and less with others.

Sample Contextual Challenges

Drive Team Performance
  • Lead geographically dispersed teams
  • Transform a high conflict culture
Lead Change
  • Deliver under high uncertainty and ambiguity
  • Design and drive new strategies
Deliver Results
  • Deliver high margins
  • Deliver exceptional customer service
Manage Risk and Reputation
  • Deliver in high risk taking contexts
  • Represent the organizational externally

Increased Precision with Insight eBook

Download the eBook to read the insight:

  • What matters most to making or breaking leaders’ performance
  • The impact of context on leader success
  • The implications for HR and three key changes to drive stronger ROI from succession initiatives

The Gains Are Worth it


Factoring in work context enables predictions about leader performance that are up to 3x more accurate.


On average, better prediction of high-performing leaders translates into a 22% increase in leader performance.


Increased leader performance is associated with a 4% increase in revenue and a 4% increase in net profit.

The Power of Matching Leaders to Challenges

Our innovative solution Leader Edge objectively measures a leader’s attributes and experiences alongside the challenges they will need to overcome.  This enables to you to predict whether your leaders will succeed (or not) with up to 3x more certainty, driving increased confidence when making leadership talent decisions.​

Although these challenges are inherently demanding, leaders with certain traits and experiences can actually thrive in the face of them.  The key is matching leaders to the challenges for which they are best suited and aligning development to challenges the leader or organization may face.

This research has led to a groundbreaking approach that enables organizations to assess, select and develop leaders with greater precision, which in turn leads to greater leader success.

Leader Edge Helps You


Identify potential of current and future leaders against the question “high potential for what?”


Highlight leader development focus and conduct more business-relevant career discussions


Match best-fit leaders into roles with increased precision and confidence


Audit leadership talent to understand bench strength

  • We are now better able to focus on keeping and growing our highly valued leaders. It is through strengthening our own processes for identifying and developing leaders that we can better serve and advise our clients.

    Courtney Abraham
    Global Head of Talent Strategy and Development
    The Adecco Group

Drive More Impact From Your Leadership Initiatives


Reduce risk with higher prediction of leader performance.


Accelerate time to performance for transitioning leaders.


Improve ROI on leadership development initiatives.


Enable growth by building a stronger leadership pipeline aligned to business challenges.

How It Works: The SHL Approach

  • Measure fit to contextual challenges using market-leading SHL OPQ (Occupational Personality Questionnaire) assessment, plus experience survey
  • Generate personalized interview guides and development plans based on assessment results
  • Access talent data via an intuitive on-demand platform
  • Apply scalably for large leadership populations
  • Share leadership talent data in the language of business, not HR
  • Rescore talent data to inform broader talent decisions

Let Us Help You Are your leadership initiatives delivering the ROI that you’d like? If not, let’s discuss how to implement SHL Leader Edge into your plans. Complete the form below and one of our experts will be in touch.

Source: SHL and Gartner research.