A colleague and I were having a conversation about the overall effectiveness of leadership training. Both of us have been coaching and developing leaders for more than twenty years and so comparing notes was both an enlightening and educational. While discussing some of the challenges we came to the conclusion that there are certain factors that create an environment that dilutes the learning and renders the overall effectiveness to be quite low. The list that follows is not about blaming, judging or condemning anyone, it is simply a list of the truths about what we have noticed about a large percentage of leadership development programs. This is the end of this 3-part series.
Leadership Development Programs: Truth #3 – One and Done
A little over a week ago I found myself wrapping up one of our leadership development programs with a client. The program is entitled, The Art of Leading, Coaching & Influencing Others ® and it was designed specifically to educate leaders and build their leadership skills. This group of 10 leaders had spent the last 7 months consistently interacting in workshops, group coaching calls, one-on-one executive coaching , and working with an accountability partner and we were now bringing the program to a close. Part of this closure process is designing a process to take what they learned and purposefully weave it into the fabric of the organization, both as individual leaders and as a team. As with many things, including life, atrophy can set in and cause us to slip backwards over time if we are not intentional about moving forward into the future. This is especially true when it comes to learning.
As we went around the room, it became very clear (as it always does at this point in the program) that the most effective way to accomplish this goal was to become leaders who develop leaders (this is actually a core principal of the program). Our program is specifically designed to teach leaders how to lead and then how to introduce these concepts to their people as a way of being a leader. Most leadership development programs don’t have enough time in a one or two day program to introduce and build the skills they are teaching, let alone teach how to transfer the knowledge to others.
While this concept of Developing Leaders Who Develop Leaders™ sounds simple … the results are extraordinary. Here’s why:
- It increases the return on investment of the program ten-fold because it is self-perpetuating.
- It is one of the most successful ways to retain the information learned throughout the program because the retention rate increases to 95% when you teach what you were taught.
- It benefits the leader and the person being developed simultaneously.
- It creates a built-in succession plan as leaders identify and develop those folks who want to follow the leadership path.
- It effectively develops future more leaders in a way that allows them to be educated by people who are actually leading and not someone who has never been in a leadership position or with no leadership experience.
- It increases morale and engagement because future leaders feel they are being developed in an ongoing, continuous, real-life, process and have a path they can follow. This is critically important for millennial generation.
- It transforms an organization because it creates a consistent leadership culture that is aligned, intentional, accountable, and results-driven.
A typical leadership program starts on day one and ends when the last participant walks out’ve the room later that same day. It is a one and done process, no follow up, no accountability, no consistency, and with very little or no return-on-investment. Considering that many leadership programs are taught and/or designed by people who have never led anyone, is it any wonder that executives continue to question the dollars spent on developing leaders versus the value they are getting in return?
When you take a look around and see the vast number of people in leadership positions who shouldn’t be there I think we can conclude that what we are doing to develop leaders isn’t working.
3 Questions to Ask Yourself About Your Leadership Development Program:
- Are you measuring the wrong thing?
- Is it engineered for the masses or the individual leaders?
- Is it a one and done or does it self-perpetuate and develop more leaders?
In a world filled with an infinite number of choices on how you develop leaders it is rare to find a program designed to address the individual needs of a leader while building a team of leaders who will help you achieve the results you want. If you are interested in learning about how you and your organization can benefit from this powerful program, please contact us here or call us a 480-460-7545