Justin Hughes writes on issues relating to team and organisational performance. A former Red Arrows pilot, he is now Managing Director of Mission Excellence, a consultancy focused on improving clients' execution – their ability to close the gap between what gets talked about and planned, and what gets done. Justin previously spent 12 years as an RAF fighter pilot and is a renowned speaker on performance and risk and has presented alongside Richard Branson and Kofi Annan. He can be found on Twitter at @JustinMissionEx.

In many ways, development of non-technical skills can be viewed as an intellectual leap of faith.  Introduce a new process and the benefits can often be viewed (and measured) almost immediately. However improved human performance is like oil percolating through the pores of an organisation. It takes a long time to take residence and still longer to extract the value.

And even then, was the development programme the real reason for the improvement of results?

Correlating A with B with any precision is bordering on impossible in this context.  Plus, performance programmes are expensive. The delivery is probably the cheapest element; the opportunity cost for senior personnel can be a significant multiple of the programme cost. Finally, non-technical performance is rarely what is measured or rewarded. Why would the individuals bother, never mind the organisation?

The answer to the above is because it makes a difference. A tangible, measurable difference which adds value to shareholders, organisations and to individuals within any organisation which rewards performance.  The evidence?

1. Effective senior leadership teams generate better lasting financial and operational performance.

2. Investors and buyers take senior leadership effectiveness into account when deciding whether to invest in or acquire a company. In fact, leadership commands a premium on the value of a company. 

As leaps of faith go, this one stacks up pretty well…

This blog was co-authored with Mission Excellence Programme Director, Amy Cruickshank.

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