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Thursday, March 20, 2014

Why Leadership Development Programs Fail

For years, organizations have spent time, effort, and money on improving the capabilities of managers and on nurturing new leaders. US companies alone spend almost $14 billion annually on leadership development. Colleges and universities offer hundreds of degree courses on leadership, and the cost of customized leadership-development offerings from a top business school can reach $150,000 a person. Moreover, when upward of 500 executives were asked to rank their top three human-capital priorities, leadership development was included as both a current and a future priority. Almost two-thirds of the respondents identified leadership development as their number-one concern. Only 7 percent of senior managers polled think that their companies develop global leaders effectively, and around 30 percent admit that they have failed to exploit their international business opportunities fully because they lack enough leaders with the right capabilities. The survey identified four of the most common mistakes and some tips to overcome them. The four most common mistakes include: 1. Overlooking context – while one leadership style works well in one situation it often does not work well in another; 2. Decoupling reflection from real work - the ability to push training participants to reflect while also giving them real work experiences to apply new approaches and to hone their skills; 3. Underestimating mindsets - organizations are reluctant to address the root causes of why leaders act the way they do yet if there isn’t a significant degree of discomfort the chances are that the behavior won’t change; and 4. The Failure to measure results - companies pay lip service to the importance of developing leadership skills but have no evidence to quantify the value of their investment and therefore they increase the odds that leadership development programs won’t be taken seriously. Together, these four mistakes suggest ways for companies to get more from their leadership-development efforts - and ultimately their leaders - as these organizations face challenges ranging from the next demanding phase of globalization to disruptive technological change and continued macroeconomic uncertainty. Companies can avoid these mistakes in leadership development and increase the odds of success by matching specific leadership skills and traits to the context at hand; embedding leadership development in real work; fearlessly investigating the mind-sets that underpin behavior; and monitoring the impact so as to make improvements over time. Need help with your leadership development program? Truth@Life can help. Call 248-396-6255 or email me at curtis.songer@gmail.com for a FREE consultation. For more info on help I can provide check out http://truthatlife.com/

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