Are You Missing the Obvious in Developing Your Employees?


Are You Missing the Obvious in Developing Your Employees?

The impact of developing employees through leadership or learning continues to poor in from around the globe. A recent study by Bersin by Deloitte revealed the following regarding leadership development:

• $.35 of every training dollar is directed to developing leaders at all levels
• 60% of all organizations surveyed cited “leadership gaps” as the op business challenge

In 2012, an estimated $164.2 billion was spent on learning and development worldwide. (ASTD/ATD). The collected data does not break out leadership development as the top issue, but rather looked at the top three areas of learning content:

• Managerial and supervisory at 13.5%
• Mandatory and compliance at 10.8%
• Processes, procedures, and business practices at 9.9%

Why businesses have not recognized the obvious about developing employees only reflects that those who provide the solutions are part of the problem.

In the early 1950’s there was a movie titled “The Executive Suite.” This plot of this story revolved around the politics when the President of a manufacturing firm dies and the resulting political vying for his now empty chair.

Towards the end of the movie, William Holden who plays a reluctant, but caring leader gives a soliloquy that is a timely today as it was then. The most poignant comment was:

“The quick and easy, the sure thing, that is just a loss of faith in the future.”

Take a few moments to think about what this powerful statement actually means and suggests respective to employee development.

First, the most obvious is the quick and easy does not work in the long term. There is a plethora of research that proves a onetime exposure to a learning event after 16 days has a 2% change of being remembered. With multiple repetitions, long term memory can be increased to 60-70% for 15 years to life. If you doubt this, how many times did you practice your arithmetic facts. Case closed.

If those training firms and associations who provide the research and know of the research still offer one day workshops to change behaviors, then all they are seeking is the fast buck at the expense of the employees.

Anyone who says they can achieve sustainable results meaning changing behaviors in a one day workshop without any follow-up; any opportunities for practice and feedback are bald face lying to you. Human behavior does not change overnight.

Second, the quick and easy suggests executive leadership has no faith in the current employees. No matter what these executive leaders say about the vision, they do not really believe in the vision.

Third, the sure thing is not about today or tomorrow because there is no sure thing. This mentality is an excuse, a shield to hide from the truth.

Fourth, the quick and easy suggest developing employees is too hard, way too much work and costs way too much money. Yet the cost to acquire new talent is 2 to 4 times the cost to retain existing employees. Does that thinking really make sense?

Fifth, executive leadership is not forwarding thinking about developing their employees. The organization overall lacks any innovative thoughts or initiatives. There is without a doubt misalignment between strategy, structure, processes/systems, rewards and people. (5 Star Organizational Model)

Many times the obvious is overlooked because people do not want to face what is, is. They would rather hide behind the quick fix and then blame their people for their poor performance.

Developing your employees is important and your employees should never, ever be set up to fail. Possibly some day in the future, executive management will have more faith in the future and not buy into all those quick fix training programs.

Leanne Hoagland-Smith

Leanne Hoagland-Smith

Chief Results Officer at ADVANCED SYSTEMS
Discovering & guiding people to be the best for themselves and their organizations is what ignites my passion. With over 30 plus years in corporate sales and having my own 16 years young executive coaching & talent management consulting practice, I truly believe if we stop setting people up to fail we could go even farther and faster than we have to date. This passion extends to helping young people through the Career & College Success Bootcamp. Calls are always appreciated at 219.759.5601 Chicago, USA Central time.
Leanne Hoagland-Smith


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