Leadership for Life – Bad News

By on April 1, 2014
Leadership for Life - Bad News

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I recently came across a study of leadership training practices in organizations by Bersin by Deloitte (Deloitte Consulting) that was conducted in 2013. The findings are pretty disturbing.

In the article I read (Five Trends in Leveraging Leadership Development, Bersin Research Bulletin, March 7, 2013), the author first describes a leadership development model that has four levels of training:

Level 1: Inconsistent Management Training

Level 2: Structured Leadership Training

Level 3: Focused Leadership Development

Level 4: Strategic Leadership Development

As you can infer from the descriptions, companies that have training higher up the levels have more senior management support and more fully integrate leadership development into the strategic needs of the organization. The business results emerging from the different levels of training are what I find disturbing.

There appear to be direct relationships between the type of leadership training employed and the basic metrics of business success. For instance, comparing organizations that are at level 4 to those which are at level 1, overall employee retention rates are 20 times higher in organizations that are at level 4. Business results are seven times better in organizations that are at level 4. Business growth is 12 times higher in organizations at level 4.

So let’s say we drop the extremes and just compare level 2 and level 3. The results are just as disturbing:

Overall retention rates are more than 2.5 times higher in organizations at level 3 compared to those at level 2. Business results are 1.72 times higher at level 3 compared to level 2. Business growth is more than twice as high in level 3 organizations, compared to level 2 organizations.

You might be asking yourself why I find these results disturbing. After all, they demonstrate the value to organizations of planned, consistent leadership training. What is disturbing is that there doesn’t appear to be any serious effort on the part of most businesses to upgrade their levels of training and development. Whereas many companies give lip service to the value of well-trained employees and leaders (“People are our most important asset”), far too many organizations have been cutting back on training, and at best, offer no more than level 1 training and development.

Without clearly focused and consistent leadership development, companies will fall behind and fail, leaving their stakeholders in the lurch. I expect now that you know this, my phone will be ringing off the hook (314-539-5329). Don’t worry, we’ll add extra lines. Operators are standing by.

About Barry Schapiro

Barry is the Workforce Solutions Group Practice Leader for Leadership and Professional Development. His experience includes delivery and management of business training in a variety of industries, with specialties in leadership, team development, generational diversity, and customer service. Twitter

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