Making Leaders Measurably Better

#5:  The Stickiness Factor



Organizations have tried a wide variety of solutions to make training and leadership development stick, and only a handful of organizations have found the magic bullet.  Do they have more money and resources?  Maybe, but that’s not the reason for their success.  Have they hired the right training director?  Strike two. What do they know that the rest of us don’t?  Read on!


Since organizations continue looking to develop leaders who can work with others and execute the business strategy, and the answer has not yet become obvious, I’ll be devoting the remaining columns of 2009 to a countdown of the most significant reasons why.  The Holy Grail will soon be yours!


Reason #5:  Your organizations focus on the training event, rather than leaders acquiring the necessary skills and insights.


The Problem:


Organizations look at the training event as the totality of leadership development process.  It isn’t. 


We put all our energy, planning, and resources into the event.  Trainers build new program designs.  Consultants design workshops to offer to the masses.  All the attention goes to the development event.  Need proof?  Take a look at the mail that comes in to your office from national seminar and training companies.


It takes more than the event and the workshop facilitator to create the results you need and expect.


The Implication:


Some of you have already stopped reading since you have delegated leadership development to your human resources or training staff.  Next time you see them ask how many leadership workshops will be offered this quarter.  Ask how what other steps are being taken to plan and follow-up the workshops.


If we continue business as usual, we miss the point.


  • We spend money without re-capturing the investment.
  • We frustrate leaders with programs with sizzle but without substance.
  • We send mixed messages because training isn’t aligned to business strategy.
  • We send our people chasing multiple priorities when we need their focus.

Moving to a Better Solution:


How can you move towards a more effective solution?  Short and simple, the authors of The Six Discipline of Breakthrough Learning will tell you to design a complete experience.  In fact, they would further explain that all the training in the world is meaningless unless discipline and learning transfer are built into your overall approach.  Take it out of consultant speak, and they recommend that in addition to the learning event, you plan and prepare, as well as follow up to focus on the application of learning on the right results.


Incorporating their development system with practical advice and I offer you these 5 steps towards a better solution:


#1:  Facilitate a meeting with your leadership team to reach agreement on why you need leadership and what you are trying to accomplish.


#2:  Define what leadership looks like (knowledge, skills & abilities) within your organization or business.


#3:  Outline the process steps needed to best develop your leaders and managers.


#4:  Once you have the process steps, define the roles & responsibilities that everyone has to plan, develop and follow-up your leadership process.


#5:  Identify the additional steps & resources your organization will require to better manage leadership development, including funding.


As with everything else, it starts with the business objective.  Just what are you trying to accomplish?  It begins with the executive sponsor taking the lead, and continues with planning, development and follow-up.  Your efforts will be more successful as you start slowly with the right people on the right efforts.  Build up small wins.  Implement new improvements one at a time.  See how they support your overall objective and continue refining as you go.


I wish you the best as you consider these ideas against what you are doing today.  I’ll look forward to sharing more insight and practical ideas with you next month and throughout the year.  Do you have ideas on the topic that you’d like to question or share with others?  Feel free to write and share them.