If you read enough business books, typically around sales, management, or leadership, you will have learned the secret to their formula. The first chapter is basically most of the content and the rest is just some filler and reinforcement. Blinkist, an app that summarizes business books, is going to make a fortune off of it. I will do you the same favor, starting with a question that helps frame the content in a similar way.
“What if you don’t invest in leadership training and you are stuck with those employees?”
The reason most people don’t invest in leadership development training is the fear that employees will leave after they have invested in the training. Richard Branson summarized that fear in the opposite way to how most people think: “Invest in your people so that they can leave. Treat them well enough so they don’t want to.”
Doing all the right things to create your next generation of good, loyal leaders is great. But, is the investment in leadership development training worth it?
Educating vs. Training Leaders
There is a major difference between education, such as reading about a concept in a book or taking an online course, and training. Education is about teaching concepts so that you understand those concepts. Training is learning how to apply concepts into real situations and how to manage the behavioral changes required to apply those concepts.
Most leaders do not need to be educated. They know leadership principles. “Lead by consensus.” “Hit the ground running.” “Create a proactive vs. reactive culture.” Rarely does leadership know how to apply those concepts in their day-to-day, though. They ask questions such as:
- How do I lead by consensus when what I want is different from what they want?
- What is the necessary planning required to hit the ground running, as opposed to too much, too little, or what is important?
- If our world is reactive, how do I start to get people thinking proactively when that is not natural to them?
- How do I manage their reactions and shift from firefighting to prevention?
That is the hard stuff. The how-to-apply-it stuff. Leaders can’t ask a book or a course how to do that. They need help adapting and implementing the principles to fit their organization and they need real-world application practice. That is what training does.
Employee Expense vs. Leadership Investment
Next, you need to ask yourself, are you viewing leadership development training as an expense or truly as an investment in your business? If you make an investment, you typically know what you want to get from it and where those results will come from. To make leadership development training worth it, everyone should know what you expect to earn from it as well.
“If my people could be better at "X", I would see the payoff in "Y" business metric.”
If you cannot define that, it is just education, because no one will apply it in a way that is meaningful to your business. Too many leaders take this approach and don’t hold a training company accountable to the goal. If the training company is truly worth it, they will know what is possible and exactly how to get your leadership team there.
So, is leader development training worth it? Yes, but only if you make it worth it.
Want to learn more about how leadership development training can pay off for your team? Contact Lushin today and see how our management consulting, leadership training, and strategic account management programs can grow your bottom line.