A recent analysis of responses by U.S. business and HR leaders to a comprehensive global study by the Hay Group division of Korn Ferry (NYSE:KFY) shows a critical need to improve leadership development initiatives. U.S. respondents made up nearly one third of the 7,500 global respondents, and their answers generally mirrored responses from other parts of the world. The largest percentage of U.S. respondents said their most important leadership development priority was developing leaders to drive strategic change. However, only 17 percent said they were confident they had the right leadership capabilities in place to execute their strategy, and only 18 percent were confident that their leadership team demonstrated the behaviors needed to successfully deliver on strategic business priorities. "The best thought-out business strategy will fail miserably if the leaders within an organization don't have the skills to make it come to fruition," said Dennis Baltzley, Senior Client Partner and Global Head of Leadership Development Solutions, Korn Ferry Hay Group. "Effective leadership development is the key to helping leaders have the right knowledge and experiences necessary to drive change." Survey respondents in the United States voiced their dissatisfaction with the outcomes of their leadership development programs, with 53 percent ranking their leadership development ROI as only fair to very poor. Also, when asked if they were able to completely start over with leadership development programming, 55 percent of respondents said that they would throw out at least half of their current approach in pursuit of improved outcomes. "Many leadership development initiatives fail because they are simply a series of programs instead of a comprehensive approach that ties directly back into the business strategy," said Stu Crandell, Senior Vice President, Korn Ferry Institute. "We not only focus on the whole person (competencies, experiences, traits and drivers), but also leverage real strategic goals and applicable, on-the-job challenges to augment the relevance and impact of the development journey for individuals, their teams and organizations."