ROI on Training: Does Leadership Training Work? Part 2

In this post we continue the discussion on the value of leadership training

Our post starts with Jesse Sostrin responding to my earlier post and the question Does training work?

Jesse: I agree that many training programs fall short because of the transactional nature of the course delivery. More than how the material is delivered, however, there is a deeper issue around “what” we are equipping the workforce to be able to do. In the world of work, the greatest technology is not a killer software application or the latest device; it is human capital. Specifically, it is an organization’s capacity to achieve its intended purpose by leveraging the strength of its workforce and tapping the full measure of its potential. In this hyper-competitive economy, organizations need people with the ability to respond to and manipulate their environment, exercise creativity as they interpret and resolve abstract problems, and continuously adapt their knowledge to advance self-generating cycles of new learning.


I call this “Intelligent” Learning and Development because it is based on self-reinforcing tools that enable individuals to independently re-produce cycles of continuous learning and performance that adapt with the changing environment and produce increasingly valued and relevant results for their teams. In other words, rather than teaching someone a new skill, why not teach them how to assess which skills are needed, how to develop the competencies within them, and how to anticipate the evolution of the knowledge and abilities that will be required to keep up with changing conditions?


People who know how to do this will be “Future-Proof” because they will know how to continuously increase their contribution to the organization through these cycles of on-going learning and performance, where the results of one stage of growth seamlessly lead to the next. Organizations that are filled with Future-Proof people will better respond to changing conditions and attain closer alignment between talent and strategy.


Future-Proof – noun/1: learning to see your hidden curriculum of work®, spotting the specific barriers that it produces, and transforming those everyday challenges into opportunities for improved learning and performance; 2: using your continuous learning and performance to stay ahead of the change curve, remain relevant in your career, and craft a meaningful working life.


Trainers, coaches, consultants, and mentor-managers—those whose stake in the organization’s success is defined by their ability to develop others’ potential—can precipitate the capacity to adopt forms of “Intelligent” Learning and Development by going beyond the assumptions of traditional training.


Ron: Jesse I really appreciate the way that you have framed the conversation. In many of the training programs Developing Leaders conducts I find myself and my team fighting the current of the transactional mindset. We seek to do much of what you are saying. Developing and delivering courses that increase capacity rather than providing simplistic recipes.

I really don’t think there are many training organizations that really understand what we are referring to. It has been my experience that many successful training organizations develop a simple model, a training cirriculum that supports the model and then proceed to sell the package. The sales process does involve some window dressing in the name of “customization” however the program remains essentially unchanged. I can think back to some very “major” organizations that trained using such an approach.

Seems to me that business success often requires giving the market what it wants rather than collaborating to find then deliver what it actually needs. I worked with two internet marketing experts at several years back who made the statement “focus first on giving customers what they want rather than what they need”. This really impacted me.

So the question then changes doesn’t it. Lets continue on in asking how do we successfully partner with business leaders to help improve their capacity and future proof their employees in the face of this business reality.

and that will be the direction of the next few posts…


How do we partner with organizations and increase capacity, whereby we future proof their employees?





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