A multimillion dollar manufacturer has focused on leadership development for several years. They have hosted training programs with engaging sessions that many people enjoy and find interesting. Despite efforts to improve leadership skills and processes, there has been little progress in developing more effective leaders. 

Unfortunately, this is not unusual. In fact, according to Dr. Robert Brinkerhoff, author of the book Telling Training’s Story, only 15 percent of leaders who undergo leadership training are able to translate their new skills and knowledge into permanent habits. When it comes to leadership development programs, there is a lot of interest, but it usually doesn’t lead to real results. So more often than not, leadership development may be a waste of time and money. 

Where is the disconnect?

The problem is that leadership capability is not easily changed. Even when leaders gain knowledge they are not able to apply what they’ve learned on a consistent basis. In most cases, engagement surveys continue to register a number of complaints about leadership. In addition, the goal of leaders strengthening how they work with their teams and achieving key metrics has shown little improvement. 

Why aren’t we getting results?

If we were actually developing better leaders, there should be something to show for it. In many companies, the implementation of leadership development programs lack clarity. 

In order to realize change, participants need to regularly apply critical leadership behaviors, understand why they need to take these actions, and have clarity on the results they should be achieving. Surprisingly, leadership development programs are often missing one or all of these critical components.

Fundamentally, most organizations fail to create a sufficient plan for their intended outcomes before the programs are implemented. These plans need to include sufficient follow-up coaching so that their new found skills become habits once the training is complete, and it should include a means to measure the success of the training. 

Here are some questions to consider when assessing your leadership development program:

  • What changes in leadership behaviors do you want to see?
  • Is there a plan to implement these changes that goes beyond the initial training?
  • How will we measure desired leadership behaviors?
  • What are the desired outcomes of improved leadership? 

By strengthening your leadership program to ensure that it supports permanent, positive changes, you can guarantee that your program won’t be a waste of time or money.

We are able to successfully drive not only improved leadership behaviors, but also the outcomes. It’s not a simple, quick solution, the work is in sizing up the magnitude of the challenge, and having an approach designed to achieve complete success. Not surprisingly, it requires attention to many of the items noted above. 

Does your organization already have a leadership program established? Our system can be applied to the leadership development concepts you have created, and strengthen what is already in place. 

Would you like a free assessment of your leadership development program? Recommendations on how to strengthen your existing program? Click here and let’s chat!

Todd, A., & Quinn, R. E. (2018, July 26). Your leadership training is probably a waste of money. Here’s what’s missing. Entrepreneur. https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/317137

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