Why you need a leadership development program.

Leadership Development Training

 

I’ve been asked more than once why we chose this niche market for our consulting company.

Leadership training is one of our core competencies at Perficitis Consulting Group. As Dr. Vadell and I work on our book, developing our unique theory of leadership, we have been inspired to re-define the way that leadership training should be accomplished.

The first question is often tied to ROI for companies large and small: why pay for leadership development?

Starbucks is not an advertiser, people think we are a great marketing company but in fact we spend very little money on marketing and more money on training our people than advertising. – Howard Shultz, CEO, Starbucks

The answer seems obvious from our perspective: leaders make things better. They are motivated, have skills to influence change, and are strategic thinkers; leaders drive an organization to success. With the growing popularity of programs like six sigma, LEAN, PMP, etc. there is recognition of the need for training in the “project management” sphere.

Without denying the value that those programs provide an organization, one of the components they have in common is the “leadership” component of the trainings. Whether it is called “stakeholder influence,” “customer expectation management,” or any of the other various euphemisms for leading people, the “soft skills” involved in leadership are invaluable tools if you, as Starbucks and other leading companies, acknowledge that people are your greatest asset.

The ability to lead people, to influence them toward your strategic goals, is a skillset that is not easy to quantify in terms of ROI, whereas trainings that include a nod to leadership, but focus on project management/improvement typically have a lot of relevant literature and hard figures to justify their value.

Imagine you have a business unit:

  • Full of individuals who went through leadership training. They are intrinsically motivated and working to vertically align the company’s vision all the way from the C-Suite to where the rubber hits the road, or
  • A select few individuals with project management-focused training working with willing, but untrained employees to make specific improvements in the department.

Qualitatively speaking, the business unit that has received leadership training will be more likely to develop into a high performing team, working in solidarity, whereas the other will continue on in similar fashion, but will likely save some money along the way.

Food for thought; feel free to check out our offerings here.

Why write about Leadership?

Ivanhoe - Easton Press EditionI’ve been asked more times than I care to recount: why write another book about leadership? Hasn’t the subject been covered adequately by now? My immediate reply is, “no, otherwise we would see better leaders and less variety in leadership books being purchased, recommended, and read.” To put it simply, Leadership is as rich a topic as you can explore; it involves complex human interactions and springs from theory to practice.

Unlike what Sir Walter Scott wrote to describe the perils of writing solely Scottish novels, explaining that venturing into the realm of English history in his book, Ivanhoe, so he wouldn’t be typecast, to run out of energy or subject material or to have his characters become caricatures was probably true of a field like historical fiction.

“…he was not only likely to weary out the indulgence of his readers, but also greatly to limit his own power of affording them pleasure. In a highly polished country, where so much genius is monthly employed in catering for public amusement, a fresh topic, such as he had himself had the happiness to light upon, is the untasted spring of the desert: but when men and horses, cattle, camels, and dromedaries have poached the spring into mud, it becomes loathsome to those who at first drank of it with rapture; and he who had the merit of discovering it, if he would preserve his reputation with the tribe, must display his talent by a fresh discovery of untasted fountains” (Scott, 1997, p. xiv-xv).

The same cannot be said for the subject of Leadership because leadership is neither time-bound nor bound by geography. It touches us all and can be as difficult to define as loyalty, responsibility or honor.

Attempting to draw a general outline for the practice of effective leadership and then color within those lines may be ridiculed by some, but it is a rewarding endeavor and one that makes the author and the reader better by their efforts.

photo by: Jemimus