3 reasons leadership training is a huge waste

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Leadership development courses and events seem like a big investment for a business, but does the return justify the high cost?

According to a Boston Consulting Group survey, companies spend tens of billions of dollars on these programs each year, but that money is often wasted because “training is not designed to drive business results.”

BCG found that “improving leadership development” and “managing talent” are top priorities for the companies surveyed, but respondents, more than 4,000 business leaders from around the world, also ranked these two areas as their greatest weaknesses.

Debbie Lovich, head of BCG’s Leadership and Talent Enablement Center, says the problem is that training is separate from business goals.

“Senior executives often think they need to focus on the business and delegate talent development – which they see as ‘training’ – to HR or someone else without ongoing involvement,” said Lovich in a press release. “With this approach, leadership development is instantly disconnected from business priorities. The training employees receive does not develop the skills that will enable them to have a meaningful impact on colleagues, customers and business results. “

The main reasons why leadership development seminars, events, or workshops don’t produce results are the same reason cramming for a skill-based test doesn’t get you to master a skill.

BCG found three main reasons why leadership and talent development programs are not producing results:

1. Many companies organize one-off events and workshops, but “true capacity grows over time and grows steadily”.

2. Programs that target “broad and broad themes” such as achievement or leadership do not help develop specific skills. Instead, programs should focus on two or three areas that your employees can work on.

3. The success of most programs is measured by attendance and participant satisfaction. However, the best way to see if a workshop has been successful is to assess the skills developed by the participants.

“People don’t develop their skills by just reading a book or attending a one-time workshop,” Lovich said. “They develop skills by having to do something, failing and trying over and over again.”

The most effective leadership development involves daily field experience with opportunities to practice and reinforce new skills, Lovich said. Regularly practicing new skills while working helps make training relevant to the company’s activity.

“A few simple things done well in a consistent way in daily routines can lead to a cultural shift,” she said. “By teaching through practical daily routines and providing simple tools for practicing and observing leadership on the job, organizations can give their employees a practical way to improve every day.”

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