June 30, 2015

An Introduction to LeAD Labs

Doing research is difficult. Ask any scientist, social or otherwise, and they will say that doing good research is expensive in terms of time, resources, and attention. However, bringing the fruit of those labors to the public, who can ultimately use them to improve the state of the world, may be even more difficult. Good science often resists the simplification needed to make it understandable by those without years of highly specific training. Even more importantly, scientific findings rarely provide the clear-cut, yes or no answers that the public desires. Good scientists are hesitant to paint with an overly general brush when talking about their work—the end result is that the information that could help inform decisions people need to make on an everyday basis stays locked in inaccessible academic journals, scholarly conferences, and the nearly incomprehensible jargon of a group of highly trained individuals writing primarily for each other.

Despite this potentially bleak picture, there are scientists who recognize this issue . . . and want to make it better.

At first glance, LeAD Labs may look like any other leader development consultancy. We have a variety of leadership evaluation, assessment, and development services—workshops, 360s, coaching, assessment centers—that we provide to a range of clients. But if you dig a little deeper you will see that our goal is not to simply generate revenue in the service of clients, but rather, to develop, implement, test, and refine evidence-based leader development services while examining research questions that will further advance and align the research and practice of leader development. When the evidence is lacking for the development of a particular program or service, we make that a priority research question.

Our mission is to close the gap between what leader development practitioners (consultants, training and development specialists, HR folks, executive coaches, and leaders) including ourselves do and the research that we, and others, have done or are doing about what good leader development practices actually look like. We don’t blame practitioners for using methods or approaches that lack empirical support because much of the time that empirical support either doesn’t exist or is locked behind paywalls and jargon. We want to help fix that.

This blog is one step in that direction.

Every couple of weeks we will be sharing articles written by members of the LeAD Labs. These articles will describe leader development research, our efforts at creating evidence-based services, and announcements about what our organization is up to. Our goal is to write these articles in a way that makes them engaging and useful to the practitioners using this information to develop themselves and other leaders.

We’re excited to pull the veil back on what a research-driven organization looks like and we can’t wait to show you what we’ve been working on!