Researchers at Chally, just released the results of their fifth annual Global Leadership Research Project. Each year, they survey Chief Executive Officers and senior Human Resource leaders to find leadership development best practices from top companies. The research produces Chief Executive magazine’s “Best Companies for Leaders” list.

This year’s top three companies were:

  1. General Electric
  2. IBM
  3. P&G

Chally’s research demonstrates key areas of focus for companies who want to develop leaders and retain top talent. Here are five takeaways from their report:

1. Coaching and Mentoring Drive Results

Coaching and mentoring is a critical practice in leadership development. Sixty-four percent of respondents identify these processes as a top driver of bolstering leaders. That’s up 8% from last year. Companies with the best leadership development programs grew their market capitalization by 122% in ten years. Those programs that ranked in the bottom 15% grew by only 37%.

2. Sales Leadership Needs to Focus on the New Buyer

Business-to-business customers rank salesperson effectiveness as the most important factor in their buying decisions. Improving the ability to understand a customer’s business, anticipating and addressing business needs and committing to a solution ranked as the most important components to any sales leadership initiative.

3. Top Companies Define High-Potential

A formal succession plan and annual/biannual reviews ranked as the top processes in identifying top internal talent. When defining high-potential talent, here are some traits companies look for:

  • Consistent, strong performance over time
  • Aspiration to advance
  • Proactively building a variety of job experiences

4. Developing Millennials is Gaining Traction

Eighty-one percent of respondents find attracting, developing and retaining employees of this age group important to the organization. That’s up 3% from 2014.

5. Leaders Need to Adapt

Chally’s research showed an unwillingness to adapt to change as the top reason why leaders derail. A shifting marketplace demands leaders who can adjust and recalibrate. A stringent approach hinders success in today’s economy.