You Can’t Keep It In The Box!

bad leadership statistics investment leadership culture leadership development performance productivity profitability return return on investment tangible the impact of leadership on organizational performance tools Aug 31, 2022
The Impact of Leadership on Organizational Performance

As we started looking at whether or not Leadership Training Is Worth It, I shared the story of the construction crew getting the fancy new tool they had been asking for then leaving it in the box the next time they performed the task the tool should have been used for… I also explained how frustrated the owner of the company was when he saw that - with the key point being when he saw that… One thing that tends to complicate determining the impact of any investment into developing our folks in leadership roles is that seeing how that training is used requires a different perspective. Far too many business owners and executives believe it’s not something we necessarily see - and that’s just not the case! If we really want leadership development to impact productivity, we absolutely have to make sure we’re seeing how any form of training we provide is used.

Before I move on, I need to make sure you don’t miss the importance of the two very different terms I just used… Training and Development are often used interchangeably but they’re as different from one another as Leadership is from Management! Training is generally done within a specific time frame, and usually covers a set criteria. Development is more of a process that goes on indefinitely - unless the person achieves perfection and doesn’t see any reason for continuing to grow…

With those differences in mind, we need to make sure there’s extreme clarity on something to have any hope of the initial training we provide turning into an ongoing development process. If we think back to the construction crew not using their fancy (and expensive) new tool, you’d think actually taking it out of the box and putting it into action would have been a no-brainer - and you’d be wrong! There clearly wasn’t a firm expectation in place for how they’d be accountable for showing a return on the investment the owner had made in that tool. While that may be tough to imagine when we’re talking about an actual tool, that’s exactly what I’ve seen happen literally hundreds of times when team members go through training on a topic that’s lumped into the soft skill category. The owner or exec hasn’t set clear expectations for the changed behaviors they need to see following the training, and in turn, those new tools stay in the box too!

Don’t get me wrong here, turning leadership training into leadership development isn’t something that will look exactly the same for each of our team members. Quite honestly, it will look different in every individual situation because, well, we’re dealing with individuals! But we still need to be clear about our expectations from the very beginning regarding how any training we invest in needs to be applied and about the results that need to be achieved in the process! Then we need to provide them support along the way so there’s at least a chance of turning that training into development - and that’s where we’ll pick up next time…