Getting the most out of your leadership development programs
Our clients contact us asking for guidance when they wish to implement leadership development programs. There are usually two needs they have identified:
- Helping senior management become more effective at leading the organization and becoming more strategic, and
- Helping front line supervisors become more adept at managing their teams and learning basic management skills to become more effective.
Regardless of what the need is, we want to learn some information from the client to help guide them to select the best topics and also ensure there is a system in place to reinforce the learning and integrate it into the culture.
Some of the things we ask the client are:
- What are your goals? More concretely, what do you envision the results to look like? You should have some idea of what you want to achieve. We recommend you take the time to write your goals down and what they will look like.
- How do you know what training gaps there are? How have they manifested themselves in how people manage or lead? What has the effect been on employees? Identifying the difference between long-standing issues and recent critical events will ensure you are addressing root causes and not merely symptoms.
- How open is the team to learning? Are they willing to change their approach, even if it is difficult? Work may be needed to ensure people are primed to learn.
- Do the actions of the leadership team model the behaviors you want to see in the supervisors? Do they walk the walk? Without alignment between what leadership says and how they behave the program will fail.
- What systems are in place to hold people accountable and make changes? Is there a robust performance management and coaching system in place? Training is used to set expectations. There has to be a system in place to measure and communicate results.
Training and development programs can be expensive to implement. Determining your goals and defining the outcomes before you embark on working with a partner or sending people to training is critical to ensure you get the best return on investment. Making sure the means to measure behavior change is also needed to determine success or failure.
Also remember that training should not be seen as ‘punishment’. Remedying poor performance may involve additional training, but it should not be seen as a means to enforce discipline or only used if there is something wrong. Training and development is based on taking good people and making them even better.