Wednesday 8 March 2017

The 3 essentials for maximum ROI&I from your leadership development

Highly successful leadership development is essential for the longevity of every business, yet meaningful ROI&I (return on involvement and investment) eludes the vast majority.

In 'Why leadership development programs fail' McKinsey experts Pierre Gurdjian, Thomas Halbeisen, and Kevin Lane, suggest sidestepping four common mistakes can help companies develop stronger and more capable leaders, save time and money, and boost morale.

The four mistakes:
"Overlooking context
Decoupling reflection from real work
Underestimating mind-sets
Failing to measure results."

Through working with more than 1000 leaders, women and men, in over 40 countries since 1991, I've seen plenty of evidence of these mistakes, and the necessity to avoid them. They also point to three underlying causes of failure that I've consistently witnessed.

The 3 underlying causes of why leadership development fails and proven solutions to each one

1) Leadership development is seen as a tick-the-box exercise rather than an essential ongoing experience that is integral to personal and business growth.

A. Begin all leadership development design with the purpose of leadership firmly in mind. For me Mary Parker Follett nailed this purpose nearly 100 years ago

B. Ensure unleashing and enhancing gifts (talents) is front and centre.

As a starting place I highly recommend Sir Ken Robinson's books. He is a genius and his books reflect his gifts as much as his most watched TED talks.

You can get the books pictured above here. In 'Finding Your Element' there are many great exercises to undertake to find your element (gifts).

2) There's an attachment to the methodology rather the seeing 'the way or ways' as simply the processes that encourage the journey.

There is no model or methodology that's perfect. Should you be using external experts to help you with your leadership development, and they're attached to their way, fire them. Methods matter, however what really matters is people following proven principles in their own best way.

3) The development is a present time event without appropriate consideration of the past and inadequate follow-through to guarantee desired future.


Books, mentoring, online courses, conferences, coaching, training courses, diagnostic tools, tests, workshops, classes etc., etc., etc., can all have a role to play. The key is the framework within which the tools will be used.

The three primary ways that we learn and develop (our own experience, through other people’s experience, and through formal courses and programs), must be in alignment to fully enable us to bring the best version of ourselves to our work.

70:20:10 is a great framework for leadership development and learning and development in general. The percentages vary of course according to individual situations. For example I have a current client where the percentages are 50:25:25.

Pictured below is slide 26 from an excellent slideshare by Charles Jennings. It is an excellent summary of the framework. Here's a link to the slideshare. There's an amazing toolkit here.

A key to effective use of the framework above is to use it in conjunction with a change process which puts your leadership development into a past, present, and future context, as well as ensuring there is continuous alignment with people's actual work.

Below is my change process. You'll find more about the process, the truth about quantum leaps, and how the process is used when working with you bespoke here.


Leadership development can provide remarkable ROI&I (return on involvement and investment). It is hard work, yet highly rewarding. I accept that I've only scratched the surface in this article however get the 3 essentials right for you and you'll be on your way:

1) Leadership development is an ongoing experience that is integral to personal and business growth. Successful design is grounded in the intentions of creating more leaders, and unleashing and enhancing their (your) gifts.

2) Methods and models are simply processes that encourage the journey.

3) A framework and a change process enable proper consideration of the past,  the most appropriate present learning, and the best possible follow-through to guarantee desired future.

If you'd like some help please give me a call on +61 418 807 898. How we can work together is overviewed here.

Be remarkable.

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