Why Leadership Development Isn’t Developing Leaders

Corporations are victims of the great training robbery. Companies spend enormous amounts of money on employee training and education – close to $356 billion globally in 2015 alone—but they are not getting a good return on their investment. For the most part, the learning doesn’t lead to better organizational performance, because people soon revert to their old ways of doing things.

Lets take training in a unnamed company say named, Global Corp. In a particularly expensive Leadership program, the participants describe the program as very powerful. For a whole week they engaged in numerous tasks that required teamwork, and they received real-time feedback on both individual and group behavior. The program ends with a plan for taking the learning back into the organization. Pre- and post-training surveys suggested that participants’ attitudes had changed.

A couple of years later, when a new general manager came in to lead the division, he requested an assessment of the costly program. As it turned out, managers thought little had changed as a result of the training, even though it had been inspiring at the time. They found it impossible to apply what they had learned about teamwork and collaboration, because of a number of managerial and organizational barriers: a lack of strategic clarity, the previous GM’s top-down style, a politically charged environment, and cross-functional conflict. “[The previous GM] had a significant impact on our organization, with all of us reflecting him in our managerial style,” a member of the division’s senior team explained during an interview. “We are all more authoritarian than before.”

As a change strategy, training clearly had not worked.

So, in the Indian context, can we say that we are all sheep being led to the slaughter and being blamed for it too? Do we just follow the leadership flavor of the time? Is there a corporate culture around it or personality bull culture?

Would love to hear comments!!!

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