Tech Firms Not up to Snuff on Developing Leaders

September 9, 2002 ( - US technology companies apparently aren't making good use of their existing leadership-development programs, a survey found.

Results of the Hewitt Associates survey indicate that, while nearly nine out of 10 of the tech companies have formal leadership training programs, only a third believe existing efforts have been effective in turning out the next generations of Bill Gates executives.

According to the study, 88% of the technology companies surveyed have a defined set of qualities they look for when hiring leadership talent.

However, just 40% of these organizations use these criteria on a consistent or somewhat consistent basis when hiring leaders from outside the company, and 80% use the criteria when selecting leaders from within the organization, respondents said

Asked for their strategies to develop leaders:

  • 93% mentioned internal leadership
  • 87% pinpointed early identification of leaders
  • 67% said cross-function experience
  • 67% mentioned special team projects.

Assessing Leaders

Meanwhile, technology companies are employing a variety of methods to assess leadership behavior and ability. For example, 71% said they use manager-assessment tools, 65% mentioned 360-degree feedback, and 59% said they use self-assessments.

As for the success of these programs in determining an appropriate leader for a position, 56% of the respondents stated that they are effective and 38% said they were somewhat effective.

Hewitt’s recent Leadership Study of CEOs and HR executives representing 240 major US-based, multi-national companies included 17 of the nation’s largest technology (hardware and equipment) companies.