Not All Training Opportunities Are Created Equal

(Is This Leadership Program Worth My Time And Money?)

In the last issue we learned that leaders are not necessarily genetically inclined. 30% of the brain is hardwired at birth. That means that our life experiences– including training– programs a lot of what we feel we are capable of doing. That’s the software component. The raw material essential for people to lead is not scarce. Neglected development, more than a lack of ability is the most pertinent issue.

In the last issue we discussed some of John Kotter’s tips for developing your leadership ability. Jay Conger is a part of the “leadership is learned” school of thinking. And he emphasizes that leadership training is a two –way street. On the one hand there are those who design the training program. But it doesn’t end there. On the other hand is the person taking the training. A training program can have great structure and intensity. Yet if the one taking the training is not highly motivated, then there is a breakdown in the process. A lot of men and women choose not to lead when given the opportunity. They can learn in the training program, but in real time the price is too great, the timing is not right, and the rewards are too small. It’s a personal choice to settle for something else.

The training must go beyond teaching certain elements of leadership. It must be designed to develop certain teachable skills, broaden the conceptual skills of the leader, explore the individuals personal needs, interests, and point of view, and help the leader move beyond their individual blocks, both personal and interpersonal. In other words:

  • Leadership skills
  • Conceptual thinking
  • Personal growth experiences
  • Feedback

Not any one program will usually give you all four of these. In fact many companies usually emphasize one of these emphasis. Often one is central while the other aspects are included.

Hopefully this will help you evaluate the program you are considering. You will want the greatest ROI for your money. All four are essential.

Learning to Lead: The Art of Transforming Managers into Leaders (Jossey Bass Business and Management Series)Leadership Books)