Leadership programmes, sourced externally, for any size firm, business or organisation, is a large investment. One that is difficult to measure return on investment (ROI). This makes it even more vital for those organising the programmes, to understand what needs to be included in order to ensure that it WILL be successful. We’ve come up with some short but effective tips to achieve success in any Leadership Programme.

1. Have strong links to strategy and challenges

In order for you to achieve your goals, your training programme should be tailored to you. Ideally, this means a bespoke programme that you help to design. Off-the-shelf training will never compare to the success associated with tailored programmes. This ensures that the design of the programme takes into account all of the unique and diverse challenges your company faces because no two companies are the same.

Before you even think about hiring someone to provide training make sure you have a clear vision as to what challenges your company faces and how you want to combat them. Training companies vary massively; some companies provide experiential learning, some companies prefer traditional learning styles, others provide qualifications in conjunction with their training and some can do it all. So, do your research.

2. What are your aims?

Similarly to knowing your challenges, you also need to know the specific problems and issues you want to impact as a result of any training. This could include anything from, finding new ways of communicating to stopping a trend which is having a negative effect on the organisation.

Before choosing a training provider, you need to talk to them, speak to them directly and find out what they can do for you. Only then will you get a good idea that they understand your wants and needs. If they try and tell you that what you want to fix isn’t important, walk away. They might offer you suggestions, but stick to the plan, you know what you’re after.

It is vital that you know your companies exact downfall. This is often achieved with a company-wide engagement survey. It can give corporations a different perspective of their business from those that work in it, highlighting issues, you didn’t even know you were facing. Giving you a better chance of creating a programme which will have the greatest impact.

A proposal from any training provider should detail your companies priorities and how they are going to address them. It is important that it is clear from the start, for both parties, exactly what the outcome of the programme is going to be.

3. Create consistency

Consistency is the key. For any leadership training to be effective there needs to be the same level of understanding from all participants. This includes a consistent vision and strategy. Remember, a team is only as strong as its weakest members.

The new leadership culture you create should have a positive impact on your companies KPI’s. In order to have a better understanding on what characteristics a leader should have to accelerate your company, why not check out this white paper.

A new culture should also be sustainable after the programme, make sure that there are measures in place to prevent people from referring back to old habits. Go to trick 5 to find out more on how behavioural changes can lead to long-term impact.

4. Measure Impact as well as Feedback

How often have you sat in a programme that you thought was useful at the time, gave it 5/5 feedback and then never implemented any changes as a result of it? This happens a lot with training programmes, as it is easy to forget the lessons you’ve learned once you’ve left the classroom. The success of a leadership programme shouldn’t purely be based on immediate feedback. Instead, your company should implement several measures of success and find ways of tracking them.

Similarly to preparing for a programme, it is just as important to carry out surveys throughout and after leadership training to see what impact it has had within your organisation. It’s easy for communication between colleagues to become stagnated. Formal surveys must become an important lifeline to get accurate feedback.

Positive feedback and positive movements towards your KPI’s can be a result of many different factors. Especially, if you have no evidence from previous surveys. This means that it is important to always strive for greater improvements and gather as much data as possible, to reduce anomalies.

5. Desired behavioural changes

Leadership programmes are destined to fail if behavioural changes aren’t given enough importance. Behavioural changes come from a change in someone’s beliefs, mindsets and fears. The first step to changing someone’s behaviour is to understand their way of thinking. This can be done through many different methods. One of those methods being The Strength Development Index (SDI), which categorises people on the way they think and react to situations and how this changes in conflict. There is no right or wrong answer and is focused on self-discovery. It is useful to highlight the different personalities present in your team.

The emphasis on changing someone’s mindset means that it is important to review progress on how they are developing. Changing behaviours is a long term process. However, it will have the greatest impact in terms of results. It is easy to implement guidelines but forget that individuals can interpret guidelines in different ways. It is only when you produce an established way of thinking within your organisation that there is true consistency and therefore results.

6. Values and character, as well as, skills and capabilities

One major challenge, that a lot of organisations face and maybe yours too, is a clog in the leadership pipeline. This occurs when managers are promoted as a result of their performance and skill set, rather than their ability to lead. This can result in a problem where senior managers want to carry on meeting deadlines but neglect their managerial duties and fail to delegate to their team. In order to prevent this or to recover from the effects, leadership training must consider individual values. What leaders believe is the most fundamental element of their job role.

To ensure that these values meet the objectives of your company, before starting any leadership programme, set out a list of values. If a list already exists than evaluate and make sure it is still relevant.

Similarly, the characteristics of your organisation’s leaders should be in line with the vision of the organisation. Leadership programmes should focus on having an impact on the way leaders think. Practical tools are easier to share and to see in practice but changing a person’s characteristics and how they conduct themselves at work is much more challenging and takes time. However, the ability to do so and promise results, shows that a leadership programme is going above and beyond the standard.

Hopefully, these simple tips can help you in the future. Why not check out our blog post on The Importance of Human Factor Training?

Written by
Georgia Plumbley

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Our diverse team are all drawn from performance backgrounds. None are professional trainers, all are practitioners in their chosen field.

They bring the lessons from a wide variety of professional arenas to your project. All have a track record of performing in high profile and challenging situations. 

These situations make for  great teachers. They teach you the importance of leadership, courage, cheerfulness under adversity, selflessness, professionalism and the need to focus on the basics executed flawlessly.

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