In an article by McKinsey and Company, leadership is ranked as a #1 priority by 500 executives and organizations. Approximately $14 Billion is spent each year on leadership training in the US. To me this begs the question…Is there a payoff for the investment in leadership development?

The answer is YES…IF…

…the organizations leadership development doesn’t just delegate it to their HR department or have a 2-day workshop etc. While this may be cheaper and quick it simply saying “we are doing the leadership thingy” flavor of the day.

The objective of leadership development is for the leaders to create an atmosphere in the organization that foster employee engagement, decision-making, communication, accountability and innovation. This is the evolutionary forward thinking that will empower and drive your organization fostering a high-performance environment in this century.

Most leadership programs are simple workshops based on theory and content or following someone’s 12 or X number of points of leadership etc. to develop the leader’s knowledge. The participants walk away with some knowledge and a big fat binder or a book written by someone all of which is never referenced and quickly forgotten after the participant has walked out the door of the classroom. I know, during my corporate lives I attended those leadership development workshops retaining little and years later the books and binders are forgotten and still like new.

Now when I served in the military…that’s a different story. Leadership development is taken seriously, it’s ongoing and developed neurologically. Good leadership development is a lifelong learning process and if successful will positively change the DNA of an organization.

How can you get the ROI (Return on Investment) from a Leadership Development Process?

First there is the need to identify and understand the objectives of Leadership Development, ensuring all the prime participants understand what the organization is trying to achieve by embarking on a Leadership Development Process. Truth be told often participants think it’s because they have done something wrong or are not perceived as good leaders. To achieve clarity on what the objective is I always start out with a simple 4-word question that clearly identifies the objectives and why and how the Leadership Development Process will fortify and evolve the organization’s DNA.

Key components of a good Leadership Development Process will have;

All in Attendance – Shortly after I started my coaching business, I was hired by a company to run a 1-day leadership training course. The idea was “my people need to be fixed.” I ran the course and I know I passed on good and relevant content and knowledge, but I also know that there was limited benefit past the participants walking out the door. First, the leader who hired me did not attend and secondly, it was a one-day course. At that point I vowed that I would never do that again, run a traditional leadership training course or one where the principle leader was not present and invested in long term employee engagement. If the owner or departmental leader does not participate, it sends a message that this is not vitally important and it’s just the “flavor of the day” type event. Leadership development is a journey and cannot be accomplished in a day or two or even a week. All key players must be present. It’s like a hockey game where the team captain never comes to practice and only shows up for the first period of the game. How successful will the team be at winning the Stanley Cup not yet alone winning the game? I would put good money on the team would being at the bottom of the standings.

Personal Accountability – A good Leadership Development Process has a method that holds people accountable for applying what they are learning. This is the “lead by example” part of leadership development. The accountability process is built into how the business conducts its affairs and becomes part of the business’s evolving DNA. A person may know what they should be doing, can talk about what they should be doing but never act on doing it. Accountability in the Leadership Development Process ensures that there is real leadership execution.

Repetitive Action-Orientated Content – The Leadership Development Process must have action orientated content so leaders or potential leaders can experience real life leadership learning from both successes and failures. These actions should be repetitive and debriefed during the Leadership Development Process meetings not as a pass or fail but from a point of learning and growing the persons leadership skills. Through repetition and action, we access the deeper
neurological part of our brain making it become instinctive rather than cognitive thought.

Regular Follow-up – What I see lacking in all the leadership training since leaving the military is the lack of follow-up or touch points once the training is completed. A good Leadership Development Process has follow-up touch points designed into the process.

Peer to Peer Assessments – Peer to peer vs self assessments should be done during the Leadership Development Process and then be built into the business’s DNA. Now I am not talking about the yearly Employee Performance Review or a typical 360 Leadership Evaluation, I am talking about this becoming part of the organizations regular feedback to each leader.

Measure Results – A Leadership Development Process should have a way to simply measure the results of each leader. These results should be visual shared and provide a challenge to the person being measured. This engages the participants in the process and does not make the process an “Event” it changes the process to being part of the organizations changed DNA.

Lifelong Journey – Leadership development should be part of the organization’s DNA, being part of the overall business operations culture. Leadership development is a “journey” not an “event.” At Advantage Bookkeeping and Business Consulting our LEAD™ Leadership Processes are deliberately designed in phases. Each phase is over a 12-week period with accountability, measurement and personal growth between each session. Each session lasts between 40 minutes up to an hour and a half depending on the number of participants in the group. The sessions can be delivered either in person or by ZOOM if participants are not located in the geographical area.

Disrupt the Mindset – Demonstrate to your organization by showing them that your organization is not a training school instead demonstrate to them that your company is a lifelong learning organization meaning every person who is part of the organization continually challenges themselves to evolve and the organization is evolving the organizations DNA to meet present market conditions and future objectives.

Remember that an organizations success is dependant on its leadership.

To learn more about the LEAD™ Leadership Process contact us today for a complimentary meeting to discuss your objectives and how we can assist in achieving those objectives. To book your complimentary meeting click here.

About the Author,

After high school Peter joined the Canadian Armed Forces and became a professional soldier. After serving for almost three years, Peter left the military to further his education. Upon completion of a degree in business at the U of R, Peter returned to the military and honed his leadership and organizational skills in the Canadian Forces, serving with, and leading, NATO member troops in areas around the globe. As a veteran, he entered the corporate business world and achieved significant financial results for the business organizations he worked for. During his corporate career Peter has been responsible for operating $220 Million dollars of a corporation business and in another corporation grew their revenues over 400% in 3 years. Being entrepreneurial he ventured into starting his own business selling some 8 years later returning to the corporate business world.

In 2009, Peter became a Certified Business Coach and in 2012 a Certified Executive Coach. Peter has a passion for leadership development, personal productivity and business growth.

Currently Peter is the CEO and founding partner in Advantage Bookkeeping and Business Consulting. In addition to running his business, Peter is a published best-selling author, public speaker, conducts seminars and workshops. He is an active volunteer member in the community, having served two years as a Club President for a local Rotary Club.