Don’t Waste Your 2020 Budget: Leadership Development That Sticks
By: Meredith Masse
Rabbit season!? Duck season!? No, it’s budget season! As leaders are planning now for 2020 development activities to boost their leaders abilities and produce bottom-line results, it’s also time to look, with appropriate scrutiny, at what works and throw out (or revamp) what doesn’t. That is, if your organization expects to increase your return on development investments.
Last week ICC hosted a webinar to discuss the trouble with traditional training, outline a better approach for developing modern learners and spotlight a solution that couples the best learning technology with live, human interaction to guarantee development that sticks. Here are a few highlights from the conversation.
Is There A Need for Development?
A recent study conducted by The Conference Board shows that the answer is an overwhelming YES.
More than 1,000 globally-dispersed, C-level executives were surveyed in the study. Of the 28 possible challenges from which they could choose, their biggest concerns weren’t headline-worthy global issues like political instability, climate change, terrorism or a global recession. Rather, the top challenges vying for leaders’ action focused on their own leaders. Developing “next-gen” leaders and the failure to attract/retain top talent were rated in the top ﬁve by 64 percent and 60 percent of respondents, respectively.
Additionally, the study uncovered:
- 65% of organizations have high potential programs,
- Yet 68% of those are rated as less than highly effective;
- Only 14% of organizations feel they have a strong bench;
- Only 43% of critical roles can be ﬁlled rapidly by internal candidates.
Is there a need for more effective development that sticks? Absolutely.
Trouble with Traditional Training
On the webinar we shared additional research highlighted by our own findings and experience delivering leadership development programs for over 10 years. Just a few of the challenges with traditional classroom-based training:
- Participants forget 80%+ of what they learned within a month. Period.
- Content/curriculum isn’t relevant to their day jobs. We had a conversation with a client who was offering LEAN courses internally who said, “Oh, no. We don’t implement LEAN here. Our culture doesn’t support it.” Yet they offered it as a “feel good” development opportunity for employees. Huh.
- Sessions are too long. Gone are the days of the 8-hour much less 2-day or week-long training. A preponderance of research tells us that we lose a participant’s attention after only 20 minutes, and we must give them breaks during long learning sessions. After all, you’ve seen it, if we don’t give breaks, they take them from their seats anyway.
- Lack of reinforcement after the classroom experience proves the adage “use it or lose it.” Without opportunities to practice new skills, make mistakes, have supportive course correction from a coach or manager and try again, that beautifully designed training was all for naught.
If traditional training simply does not work — notably if our goals are knowledge retention, skill development, new (good) habit formation and actual behavior change — we need a far more effective approach.
Revolutionizing Learning: Development That Sticks
If goals of development activities include building leadership bench strength and retaining top talent, then programs must focus on enabling participants to retain knowledge, develop skills, form new (good) habits and change behavior. They keys to doing so? The 4 Rs of Modern Learning
- Redesign programs to deliver meaningful, relevant, engaging content in shorter bursts over a period of time. This helps prevent mental burnout and promote learning retention. In fact, bite-sized learning can improve retention by more than 80%.
- Reinforce to encourage practice of new knowledge and skills on the job. This is where the rubber meets the road and when learning starts to stick. Traditional training included a pat on the back at the end of the session with a hearty, “Good luck with that!” It didn’t work. Reinforcement is key to development that sticks.
- Realign, because practice alone isn’t enough. In fact, practice doesn’t make perfect; practice makes permanent, good and bad habits. Typically, a participant tries out a new skill on the job, and the first time – like when you learned to ride a bike – it doesn’t go the way they planned. So they practice again. And this time they practice it the same way as the first. Now, he’s creating a new, ineffective habit.
Time to bring in the coach who will ask the reality-checking questions: What did you try? What worked? What didn’t work? What will you continue to do? What will you do differently next time? The coach helps participants course-correct and realign to get back on the path of creating new, good habits.
- Reinforce, again. This time, with the support of the participant’s manager. The manager plays a critical role in reinforcing learning and must have meaningful conversations with their direct reports to help find ways to use new skills in their day jobs well beyond any learning session.
ICC’s Cure for Common, Traditional Training
We have implemented the 4 Rs of Modern Learning in our new Accelerator Program™ that supports newer leaders in developing the good skills that become effective behaviors. These effective behaviors then turn into powerful habits that drive better business results.
With the Accelerator Program™, your 2020 budget investment in development will pay off in organizational leadership bench strength and increased retention of your emerging leaders.
Results other clients are experiencing:
• 40% increase in leadership effectiveness in one month
• 71% increase in learning retention after 6 months
• 90% increase in leadership effectiveness after 2 months
• 95% of participants rate Accelerator as “exceeding expectations”
Contact us to learn more! firstname.lastname@example.org or (855)865-4400.