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Does Your Leadership Development Secure Results?

Leadership, leadership development and leadership training are 'Hot' issues in today's business world. A recent Internet search uncovered over 44 million hits on leadership, over 20 million hits on leadership development and 15.7 million on leadership training. Visiting an Internet bookstore revealed similar interest with almost 18,000 titles including the key word of leadership, over 2,200 titles including leadership development and 1,400 titles with leadership training.

Extensive research conducted by the American Society for Testing and Development (ASTD) discovered direct training expenditures were 2% of payroll costs with another 10% of more in indirect costs. Daniel Goleman author of Working with Emotional Intelligence estimated that in 1999, U.S. companies spent $30 billion in emotional intelligence training focusing on leadership development. With all of this interest and dollars being invested in training and development for improved leadership, possibly now is the time to assess your leadership development.

The following evaluation is for you, your manager or your organization to determine the effectiveness of the current leadership development initiatives within your company. After taking this quick assessment, some thoughts and questions to consider have been provided to help you truly discover how to secure the leadership development results that you desire and more importantly require in today's highly competitive global business market.

1. Are the learning engagements training (learning a new skill) or development (enhancing a current skill set to improve the already learned skill)?
 Training Development

2. Is there a minimum of 50 hours of training or development per year devoted to the development of the necessary skills, knowledge, attitudes and habits necessary to become a world class organization?
 No Yes

3. Is the training or development offered on a weekly or biweekly basis providing ongoing opportunities for application and feedback?
 No Yes

4. Is the training or development offered on a monthly, quarterly or annual basis where learning engagements exceed 6 hours per day without opportunities for application and feedback between learning engagements?
 No Yes

5. Is the training or development aligned with the current organizational goals and supported from the top down by the CEO and executive committee?
 No Yes

6. Is the training or development based upon 'core' competencies?
 No Yes

7. If training or development is based upon 'core' competencies, how many times have you had to repeat the training?
 None 1 time 2 times 3 times 4 times+

8. Is the training or development based upon 'desired' results?
 No Yes

9. If the training or development is based upon 'desired' results, how many times have you had to repeat the training or development?
 None 1 time 2 times 3 times 4 times+

10. Is the training or development based upon weaknesses or upon the strengths of each individual within the organization?
 Weaknesses Strengths

Thoughts and Questions for Your Consideration

Now, that you have completed this straightforward assessment, the following thoughts and questions are designed to help you determine the effectiveness of your current leadership training or development.

1. Are the learning engagements training (learning a new skill) or development (enhancing a current skill set to improve that already learned skill)?
 Training Development

If answer was training and the objective is to learn a new skill, you are right on target! However, if your people already possess skills, then the learning needs to focus on development. Development goes beyond training and works to build the What's In It For Me (WIIFM) leading to the What's In It For Us (WIIFU).

2. Is there a minimum of 50 hours of training or development per year devoted to the development of the necessary skills, knowledge, attitudes and habits necessary to become a world class organization?
 No Yes

If the answer was Yes, GREAT! You and your organization are committed to the your people and to reaching that next level of success. However, if any part of the answer was NO and you want to create a World-Class Organization, how are you going to achieve that goal? Much of the traditional training or development focuses on only knowledge and skills. Yet, performance failure more often than not is because of poor attitudes and habits. Attitude redevelopment is the KEY driving force to changing behaviors and securing sustainable results. Remember, if your people have spent at least 20 years learning something, 1 or even 10 hours per year will not significantly change their behaviors.

3. Is the training or development offered on a weekly or bi-weekly basis providing ongoing opportunities for application and feedback?
 No Yes

If the answer was Yes, again CONGRATULTIONS! People need numerous opportunities to practice newly learned skills so that they are highly 'competent' in both their attitudes and behaviors. For example we all know what 10 x 10 is. However, very few of us can answer as quickly and with as much confidence what 23 x 24 is.

4. Is the training or development offered on a monthly, quarterly or annual basis where learning engagements exceed 5 to 6 hours per day without opportunities for application and feedback between learning engagements?
 No Yes

If the answer was Yes, then the learning may not be delivering the desired results and potentially creating a negative return on investment. Research suggests that a one time exposure to a learning event such as a 1 or 2 day full training or development session results in 50% cognitive retention after 24 hours; 25% cognitive retention after 48 hours and less than 2% cognitive retention after 16 days. Remember, the brain only absorbs, but the butt will endure.

5. Is the training or development aligned with the current organizational goals and supported from the top down by the CEO and executive committee?
 No Yes

If you answered, Yes, again you and your company are headed for success. If the response was No, then you may wish to consider looking at your organizational goals to ensure alignment. An important side question to ask is can everyone in your organization name exactly the same top 3 organizational goals for the current year? If not, what are those 'miss actions' costing you in terms of financials, leadership, relationships both external and internal and growth and innovation?

6. Is the training or development curriculum based upon 'core' competencies?
 No Yes

If you answered yes, then whose competencies are you using? Do all those competencies work for and with your organization and your people?

7. If training or development curriculum is based upon 'core' competencies, how many times have you had to repeat the training?
 None 1 time 2 times 3 times 4 times+

If you answered one or more, then is a core competency based curriculum, truly effective and creating the desired end result of transformation?

8. Is the training or development based upon 'desired' results?
 No Yes
If you answered No, then why are you undertaking this training or development?

9. If the training or development is based upon 'desired' results, how many times have you had to repeat the training or development?
 None 1 time 2 times 3 times 4 times+

If you answered one or more, then potentially, the desired end results were not clearly communicated within the ENTIRE organization. (Refer to above Question 5, the side question.)

10. Is the training or development based upon weaknesses or upon the strengths of each individual within the organization?
 Weaknesses Strengths

If you answered, weaknesses, then the question is why do winning teams win? Is it because of their weaknesses or strengths? Training or development should be strength-based not weakness-based. A strength-based curriculum ensures that everyone is leveraging their assets while working to improve their potential strengths and weaknesses.

This quick assessment as well as the hints and questions are designed to help you easily recognize where your current efforts might be redirected to ensure that your leadership development is truly delivering your desired end results. For further understanding of how a results-based approach to leadership development makes far better sense and deliveries a positive return on your training or development dollars, consider a quick and easy read, Fail-Safe Leadership Straight Talk About Correcting The Leadership Challenges in Your Organization by Linda Martin and Dr. David Mutchler.

2005 All Rights Reserved. Leanne Hoagland-Smith @ 219.759.5601

About the Author

Leanne Hoagland-Smith, M.S., President of ADVANCED SYSTEMS the Process Specialist, helps people and organizations to connect their 3-P's of Passion, Purpose and Performance by improving their processes within strategies, systems and people. Her co-authored book M.A.G.I.C.A.L. Potential: Living an Amazing Life Beyond Purpose to Achievement isdue out in June of 20054. Visit http://www.processspecialist.com or email leanne@processspecialist.com.



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