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Therefore, our research attempted to answer three fundamental questions:

  • What are the best ways to develop competent leaders?
  • How to ensure Canada has a reliable supply of capable leaders?
  • How to strengthen Canadian Leadership?

To do so, authors sought the expertise, perspectives and advice of exceptional leaders and leadership development experts in all sectors of the economy and regions of the country.


The overwhelming response was the following: To ensure an abundant supply of capable leaders in all sectors of the economy, Canada must generate a critical mass of leaders. 

This represents a huge paradigm shift from the hero who appears during a crisis and saves the day, to the flock of Canadian Geese flying in a V formation: every bird in turn leading and following. To get the desired results, we must pull up our sleeves, start thinking strategically and align efforts in a deliberate, conscious and proactive manner. Current initiatives operate in relative isolation, lacking integration and focus across sectors and regions.

An apt parallel can be found in elite sports. Following the 2004 Athens Olympics, the Canadian Olympic Committee implemented ‘Own the Podium’ to align and focus resources involved in athlete development. A goal of 24 medals was set and considerable time, effort and money were invested. It paid off handsomely at the 2006 Turino Games. 

Likewise, leaving leadership development to chance is unrealistic. Just like in sports, solid strategies and infrastructures are required: talent alone is not enough.


Developing Competent Leaders

  • Leveraging the development process: understanding and optimizing its inherent dynamics

Insuring Canada has a Reliable Leadership Supply

  • Putting in place extensive development infrastructures for children, youth and adults
  • Designing and implementing national, organizational and individual leadership development strategies
  • Setting up coordination mechanisms and entities to supervise efforts, facilitate information sharing and resource exchanges

Strengthening Canadian Leadership

  • Defining and asserting our leadership identity in the context of our history, culture and strengths
  • Outlining our leadership platform, becoming aware of our own style, and selecting a direction appropriate for both
  • Improving the quality of leadership in the public sector by redefining key stakeholder roles (citizens, politicians, public servants and the media) and interdependencies. Currently, roles lack clarity and focus, people need frameworks and skills to perform, and relationships are strained, particularly between politicians and the media
Bottom line
  • Solutions reside at a systemic and strategic level

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