Henley Forum - Jo Hennessy

Jo Hennessy, Hennessy Consulting

Session title: Vertical leadership development

Why is it that many development programmes fail to deliver a cadre of people able to the task of leading the complex modern organisation?

Why is it that many people in modern organisations feel literally ‘in over their heads’?

Why is the gap so great between our hopes, our intentions, even our decisions and what we are actually able to bring about?

These are questions that as leadership development practitioners we have been seeking to answer through the application of constructivist-development theory.  This session will look at the importance of bringing together development interventions appropriate to the learner’s stage of development and relevant to what is required of leaders in the job.

This approach has started to become popularised as ‘vertical development’ and takes into consideration:

  • The hierarchical nature of complexity at work and the cognitive processing required to tackle more demanding strategic leadership roles (Elliot Jaques)
  • How adults evolve and grow in their sense-making of the world around them - The psychological stages and process of development (Jane Loevinger and Robert Kegan)
  • The need to develop future leaders for the VUCA world (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous)

As with any theory, there’s a ‘so what?’ question. In parallel with the theoretical we have been testing this in application and the session will explore case study programmes which have created the catalysing conditions for such vertical growth.

Jo is a leadership development expert with over 20 years’ experience designing and delivering leadership development and assessment programmes that deliver lasting change for blue chip businesses, government departments and as director of several business schools and consultancies.

An Occupational Psychologist, she started her career at SHL and has gone onto hold a number of director level roles at consultancies and business schools including Director of Research and International Development at Roffey Park Institute and Head of Executive Development at Penna. Jo now heads up Hennessy Consulting.