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Excerpt Dec 27th 2012
According to the American Society of Training and Development, U.S. businesses spend more than $170 Billion dollars on leadership-based curriculum, with the majority of those dollars being spent on “Leadership Training.” The key reason for Leadership development failing is-
You don’t train leaders you develop them – a subtle yet important distinction lost on many.
This may be heresy to some – but training is indeed the number 1 reason leadership development fails. While training is often accepted as productive, it rarely is. The terms training and development have somehow become synonymous when they are clearly not. This is more than an argument based on semantics – it’s painfully real.
An Overview of the Problem
The problem with training is it presumes the need for indoctrination on systems, processes and techniques. Moreover, training assumes that said systems, processes and techniques are the right way to do things. When a trainer refers to something as “best practices” you can with great certitude rest assured that’s not the case. Training focuses on best practices, while development focuses on next practices. Training is often a rote, one directional, one dimensional, one size fits all, authoritarian process that imposes static, outdated information on people. The majority of training takes place within a monologue (lecture/presentation) rather than a dialog. Perhaps worst of all, training usually occurs within a vacuum driven by past experience, not by future needs
The solution to the leadership training problem is to scrap it in favour of development.
Don’t train leaders, coach them, mentor them, disciple them, and develop them, but please don’t attempt to train them.
Training is something leaders dread and will try and avoid, whereas they will embrace and look forward to development. Development is nuanced, contextual, collaborative, fluid, and above all else, actionable.
Training places people in a comfort zone – Development moves people beyond their comfort zones.
Training is finite – Development is infinite.
If what you desire is a robotic, static thinker – train them. If you’re seeking innovative, critical thinkers – develop them. It is impossible to have an enterprise which is growing and evolving if leadership is not.
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