Most of the companies I work with dedicate some percentage of their revenue toward developing the leaders in their business. One of the discussions we often have up front is the difference between spending money to train leaders and investing to grow them.
I spend money on a nice dinner; I invest in my retirement. So what’s the difference when it comes to leadership?
The difference is creating a system that ensures that you will have leaders growing in your business every day and learning to contribute more, develop stronger teams and drive employee engagement. That’s investment. Spending is when you come across a training program that will create some good will in the short run, but soon, like the nice dinner, it’s value is gone.
Consider this; would a business invest in technology that they knew would be useful for only a few weeks or even days? Would it invest in an advertising campaign that lasted less than a week?
Developing leaders is among the most important success factors for any business. The decisions they make, the culture they create, the growth, or lack of it, that they cause has more impact on sustainable business success than almost any other factor. And yet, we tackle their development in fits and starts with one-time events and short-term efforts.
It doesn’t have to cost more to effectively develop leaders in a business. Often, it actually costs less because consistency means that businesses don’t have to invest over and over in the same kind of events. How many businesses would like to have leaders that get better every day at coaching, decision making, communication and holding others accountable instead of bringing in a training program that makes them better for a few weeks at best, but then allows them to quickly resume their previous behaviors. That’s merely spending.
The answer is rarely just a big training program. More often it is a series of opportunities for learning, coaching, and experience that shapes a leader and helps them transform into someone who is increasingly capable of taking a team, or even the business, to the next level.
Most businesses spend at least something on developing their leaders in the hopes that they can do more for the organization. The best businesses, invest in a process that doesn’t leave it to chance.