As most of my regular TST readers know, I hail from an aviation background where I spent many happy years teaching safety and emergency procedures to those responsible for in-flight safety and security.  More importantly, every single year we put those crew members through recurrent training.

Yet when I talk to prospective clients about leadership development (even those who say they are committed to improving performance and effecting lasting change) will often follow our productive conversation by saying “We think two days will be more than enough to cover it.”

Is that not the same as showing a pilot round a cockpit … but withoutgiving him/her any opportunity to try flying in practice?  Imagine, on boarding an aircraft as a passenger, the airline were to inform you that “The pilot entrusted with your care today has been given a super two-day workshop, including a manual (wow), such is our commitment to developing our people.  No, not recently, the workshop was back in 1983.  No, we have never let him/her experience actually flying.  No, due to budget restrictions we decided a quick overview was enough to gain the basics”

I expect on hearing that you would feel somewhat alarmed to say the least!

Yet many organisations seem to think it is perfectly acceptable to entrust their most volatile, complex and expensive resource (human beings) to someone who has only a passing acquaintance on how they might go about leading and managing them.  The usual answer when talking to me is “We haven’t got the budget”

With one single disciplinary costing thousands of pounds, this is disingenuous at best and hopelessly unrealistic at worst.  Yes, good training seems expensive seen through the eyes of a financial director with no intimate knowledge of the bang for the buck involved.  But like anything worth having, it is worth investing in the best you can.

Any leadership programme worth its salt should be ongoing, although it doesn’t always have to be face to face.  Time and geography may dictate that follow-up of workshop days can be via group reconnect calls (technology having a range of options to facilitate this).  There should be opportunities to give individual coaching to those who need it, time and space to allow delegates to go back and practice concepts in real situations, assistance in recognising and correcting errors and support in accepting the responsibility and accountability that their new position merits.

All of this cannot be successfully covered in a one-off workshop.  So my advice this week is – think more creatively.  Better by far to put less people through more useful training.  Roll over your budget to offer a superior programme once every two years instead of cramming inferior training into a single year in order to use it or lose it.  But whatever you decide, ensure your Leadership Learning Programmes have a structured follow through.

Your Reaction: If you want to give your delegates a structured LLP (Leadership Learning Programme), that is proven to work and builds slowly but surely through the assistance of an experienced and empathetic facilitator, contact us for additional information or to arrange a chat with one of the Stratus team

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