According to the Bersin Research Executive survey, American companies and organizations spend over $15 billion every year on leadership development programs. However, half of that money may be just thrown away without executive sponsorship. Korn Ferry’s survey on “Real World Leadership” in 2015 revealed that out of 7,500 executives from 107 countries, more than 55% of respondents stated that their return on leadership development was “fair” or “very poor”.
So, how to avoid wasting your leadership development investments? How to make these dollars work? According to the respondents, the main issue with the success of leadership development is the lack of executive sponsorship.
The Main Issues
In order to get approval from senior executives and make effective learning opportunities, it is necessary to develop and implement useful programs on leadership development. Widespread practices, such as seminars and classes, aren’t usually connected with the business strategy; classes on leadership development are often considered to be nothing more than a waste of valuable time away from the job.
According to the “Real World Leadership” survey, more than 35% of respondents would like to have more context-based development. The leaders said that in their opinion the program content should be based on business issues and current business strategies. In reality, less than a quarter of most program content is context-based. The leaders would like to see the leadership development as part of a continuous journey instead of a series of events that aren’t even connected with each other. More than that, respondents would also like to see more live and face-to-face interactions rather than impersonal, online methods of learning.
Start Development in your human resources Pipeline
It would be much better if leadership development was executed throughout the people pipeline, and wasn’t considered as a privilege allowed only for senior leaders. Sponsoring executives should make this a part of their company culture, and not just by taking part in their own development but also supporting other employees’ learning. Companies should start identifying future leaders early so that they could provide these young leaders with relevant, real-world business experience.
Responsibilities and roles are becoming more and more complex these days. This is another reason why feedback and development should be provided consistently across all the levels in the company.
Here are some tips you can take into account when creating effective and sustainable leadership development.
Start with your Business Needs
First of all, you need to understand where the main strategic areas are and define the appropriate leadership profiles to get the work done. Then you can build a leadership development plan. For instance, if the company is wishing to win fresh markets and increase its global footprint, it must have leaders with versatile personality who will be able to work across different cultures. The C-suite needs to establish these kinds of profiles.
Look for Talent at all levels in the Pipeline
The most common mistake is that organisations only concentrate on the upper layers of their senior management. Remember, the best way to develop and expand your company is to identify high potentials and young talent at the start of their career, and then offer them the business experiences that they can build on, later.
In addition, pay attention to the development of mid-level leaders, as these people will influence the implementation, speed and execution of new business strategies the most.
Never Stop Leadership Development
You can’t simply start and stop the leadership development. Instead, you should make it a long-term development plan that covers the careers of all co-workers, from the lower levels up to the C-suite. And don’t forget that learning and business experiences should match the strategic goals of your company.
Author Bio: Remi Morrison is a manager and content writer at Personal Money Service. She enjoys learning new business management trends and eagerly shares her ideas with other specialists and her readers.