Wrong-Headed Thinking about Leadership Training Statistics

Forbes recently had an article about how the “The Great Training Robbery:$60 Billion Investment In Leadership Development Is Not Working.”  There’s all sorts of faulty thinking in this article. First of all the figure they quote is for the amount of money spent in the U.S. for ALL formal training including customer service training, effective communication skills training, sales training, etc.

Wrong-Headed Thinking about Leadership Training Statistics

Jack Welch video on leadership skills

Second, we’d take issue with the premise that you can’t learn leadership traits from business leaders like Jack Welch.  So far, we’ve found our clients aren’t trying to produce clones of Jack Welch or tell their peak performers or managers they have to be like Jack Welch. What they are doing is using videos of great leaders to show how some people have navigated the waters of leadership during times of risk, innovation and change. As old as time, stories and now, videos, capture how previous generations of leaders have faced change and turned around their businesses to succeed. Would a new manager not want to learn how Henry Ford failed three times before he succeeded? Or, how Richard Branson takes risks and learns from his failures to succeed next time?  Or, how 4 time America’s Cup Winner Dennis Conner builds teams and his thoughts on how to hire? Would those business lessons not stir the pot and make one think how they can use those skills of great leaders to create their own path at their own company?

So, before your boss thinks your efforts at leadership training is a “great robbery” –unfortunately some bosses think career development or self awareness training are useless–know this.  Millennials, that generation swamping the workforce would rather have career development than a bonus by a margin of 3 to 1. (PWC Global CEO survey 2011) Also, given another opportunity, they would leave organizations that don’t want to help them develop their careers.  And, did you know that the number one leadership skill lacking in managers is the ability to coach members of their team. How do they learn how to be a good coach? By becoming self-aware, listening, empathizing and getting feedback. Videos help by showing great leaders who value these abilities and how they used them to succeed. They also help bring up a sensitive topic through an alternative voice that supports the trainer.

There’s all sorts of ways to do this economically. Online leadership video trainings and e-learning courses help cut travel costs, are a lot less expensive than attending an off-site training and employees prefer them so they can learn anytime or anywhere. So, no, noone is getting robbed here, unless they wind up not doing leadership development training.

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