Leadership Development is Big Business
US companies spend nearly $14 billion dollars per year to develop new leaders. Over 60% of 500 executives recently surveyed listed leadership development as their top concern. Certainly, leadership development is an area that deserves a hefty investment as it affects both the current and future success of an organization. But how many know how to design and implement a successful leadership development program?
The Keys to a Successful Leadership Development Program
But to get a return on your leadership development investment, you must do it right. Based upon over 800 different training programs, our training measurement researchers found that only 1-in-5 leaders change their behavior from stand-alone leadership development programs.
Here are four best practices to get more out of your leadership programs:
- Focus on Context
When it comes to building new skills, context matters. Invest the time to ensure that you and your target audience agree upon the top five to ten leadership scenarios that matter most to execute your strategy. Be clear on the two or three leadership competencies that will have the greatest impact on business success.
Remember, when it comes to building leadership capabilities, one size does not fit all. Think about assessing leadership capabilities with simulations to create highly customized and targeted individual development plans.
- Understand the Process of Successful Behavior Change
Behavior change theory experts know that you will make not make much progress in changing leadership behavior unless you take into account the root causes of why leaders currently act as they do.
Sure, you can teach how to have more constructive debate in team meetings but, if your workplace culture discourages conflict or if the team trust is low, the meetings will continue to be ineffective. To truly improve the ability to have more constructive debate, there must be enough psychological team safety and trust for constructive conflict to occur.
- Make It Real
Hands-on, relevant leadership action learning focused on moving real work forward while simultaneously developing leadership capabilities is far more effective than traditional leadership training programs. Whenever possible, design a leadership curriculum that involves real on-the-job projects that require the high priority leadership competencies for your specific situation.
- Measure, Share, and Reward Progress
Large investments should require large returns. Identify success metrics upfront, ensure that rewards are commensurate with desired results, and hold everyone involved accountable for a return on investment that makes sense.
Otherwise, why spend so much money and time?
The Bottom Line
To ensure leadership development programs work, identify the specific leadership qualities you need, address any mindsets that would block change, set up real-world projects, and measure the impact. Then your investment will be well spent.
To learn more about to build an effective leadership development program, download The Top Skills for High Performing Leaders