Sustainable individualization in leadership – pious hope or real alternative?
In line with the last blog post on our MDI website “Inner Development Goals For a Better Leadership World“, this time we dedicate ourselves to the megatrend topic of individualization and the connection with the Inner Development Goals (IDGs) towards sustainable leadership.
Individualization instead of multi-module programs
The status quo often shows that companies rely on multi-module programs to develop and train their executives. Depending on the target group, these programs provide a broad general basis of tools and methods – a so-called “toolbox” from which the appropriate tool can be selected according to the situation.
In times of ever scarcer resources (keywords: time and knowledge, cost efficiency and environment) and living realities in climate change, however, one topic is increasingly coming to the fore in the education and training of our future shapers of tomorrow: individualization.
Individualization – one of the 12 megatrends
Individualization was presented by the Zukunftsinstitut 2023 as one of the 12 megatrends. These megatrends are the central trends of our time. They are the biggest drivers of change in business and society and shape our future – not just in the short term, but in the medium to long term. Megatrends unfold their dynamics over decades.
IDGs & SDGs 2030
This time horizon may seem long, especially considering the Inner Development Goals (IDGs), which are based on the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals for 2030. This deadline means that the implementation of this megatrend can no longer be delayed.
But when we think of Sustainable Development Goals, can we give individualization any room at all? Doesn’t individualization always consume considerably more resources than a collective measure?
Sustainability vs. Individualization – Dealbreaker or Complement?
Sustainability and individualization have an interesting interaction with IDGs. On the one hand, individualization can be seen as a potential challenge to sustainability, as it may require more resources and lead to fragmentation of actions. If individualized programs are developed for each leader or individual, this can add time and cost and may be inefficient.
On the other hand, individualization also offers opportunities for sustainability. By enabling people to consider their interests, strengths, and needs, tailored development and education can take place. When leaders are supported in their development processes and have the opportunity to leverage their strengths, they can develop more effective leadership approaches that are also aligned with sustainability goals.
Promoting Individual Strengths and Creating Sustainability for Leaders and Organizations
IDGs are leveraging the megatrend of individualization to promote personal development and inner growth. By focusing on individual needs and goals, they enable people to realize their full potential and shape their own growth. This also includes the development of leadership competencies required for the sustainable transformation of organizations and societies.
Sustainable individualization in leadership thus means reconciling individual development and sustainability goals. This requires careful planning and design of educational activities to address both individual needs and sustainability issues. It is about fostering individual strengths while creating a common foundation for sustainable leadership.
Transfer to practice – 3 concrete approaches
What concrete measures can companies now take to initiate a sustainable and individualized leadership era?
1. IDG potential analysis
The results of the analysis serve as a basis for targeted measures to promote personal and professional growth in line with the IDGs and are particularly suitable for organizational and personnel development, leadership, team development, and change processes.
2. Team workshops with team profiles
In order to validate the self-assessment, there is also the possibility to get an external assessment from a colleague. Based on this, there is the possibility to conduct team workshops with team profiles to strengthen cooperation regarding the IDGs.
3. Mentoring program
Another way to put these findings into practice is to implement a mentoring program. This program supports leaders in realizing their individual goals and needs and integrating sustainability-oriented approaches into their leadership practice.
Executives are paired individually with an experienced mentor to foster their personal development and leadership skills. Thus, individual leaders’ needs and goals are addressed by assigning them a mentor who has experience and expertise in the specific areas the leader wants to work on.
The mentoring relationship allows executives to identify their individual strengths and weaknesses and work on them specifically. At the same time, the mentor and mentee are in a two-way exchange on a variety of topics, allowing them to learn from and with each other. This helps the leaders to integrate sustainability-oriented approaches into their leadership practice and to drive positive change in their organizations.
Ultimately, IDGs and customization can help create a new generation of leaders who are both personally fulfilled and focused on sustainable change. By addressing the individual needs and potential of each individual, IDGs can pave the way for sustainable and individualized leadership that can have a positive impact on organizations, society, and the environment.
Commitment MDI – We support leaders who strive for a better world
As an official partner of the Inner Development Goals (IDG), we are actively engaged in collaborating with other stakeholders, organizations, and individuals to advance the integration of transformational sustainable development skills into our leadership development. Our goal is to facilitate dialogue, knowledge sharing, and collaboration to advance the SDGs agenda.
Learning & Development Consultant
Since 2022, Iris has been an L&D Consultant at MDI, supporting leaders and organisations worldwide in personal development and creating tailored training programs. She values the personal learning experience and ensures clients benefit from valuable insights. With a background in adult education and professional experience in a renowned corporation, Iris has a comprehensive understanding of company needs and develops customized solutions for sustainable development and growth.