Transformation, not training, drives retention – Indianapolis Business Journal

Today, there are millions more jobs than there are people to fill them. On the horizon: a global talent shortage of more than 85 million people by 2030 (resulting in $8.5 trillion in unrealized annual income).

This means your best people are being hired. And your job is to create a magnetic culture where they want to stay. MIT Sloan has identified “toxic workplace culture” as a major driver of the Great Resignation (which is driving both wages and burnout across industries), which means leaders have some work to do. Fostering a magnetic culture means creating effective leaders to carry it.

This brings us to leader development. At Advisa, we set out to revamp old, broken ‘training’ methods in favor of true transformation. Instead of a leading development firm, we have positioned ourselves as a leading efficiency firm. This subtle change represents a $50 billion gap. This is the number that is “wasted” on leadership development every year. It is wasted if it produces no real behavioral change in the participant and therefore has no impact on the organization.

If you’re thinking about retention and interested in a leadership development initiative, this is it effectivehere are four critical elements you can’t ignore:

1. Start from your own place. Use the data to diagnose your own current situation. If you are inside the jar, you cannot read the label. Collect objective data to get beyond the jar.

In particular, use the data to clarify the behaviors most commonly observed among leaders and the behaviors noted and tolerated across the organization. This will provide you with an internal benchmark and shine a light on your areas of strength and opportunity. It’s tempting to look at Disney or Apple and decide, for example, that we need to “smile more” (they do!) but it may not be for you. Don’t look away, guess, and risk the silent approach. Instead, dare your own organizational awareness.

2. To know doesn’t. I love Maya Angelou, but I would respectfully change her mind: When you know better, you can choose do better Knowing does not mean doing. We all know we need to eat more plants, brush our dogs’ teeth, and stop scrolling through our smartphones while driving. This does not mean that we do he

In the workplace, leaders hoping to see behavior change in their direct reports often turn to “coaching.” Sure, there’s a short-term knowledge boost and maybe some enjoyment from a “coach-fun” day, but behavior change rarely results. Why? “Doing” takes time, repetition, experience, and managerial support. Seventy percent of behavior change happens in the workplace.

Changing our adulting habits is complicated. Stop wasting your money on one-off, grab-bag seminars. Leader development is a journey, not an event.

3. When everything matters, nothing matters. I have a client who overcorrects. Because the training bag hadn’t worked for his team in the past, he sent his leaders to learn all 67 of Lominger’s leadership skills. They returned dizzy.

Remember the Law of Diminishing Returns here – the more we try to achieve, the less successful we become. Instead, select a qualified partner to help you identify a few consistent, observable behaviors that will help you realize your strategic goals. Choose five. Then work with that partner to think about what leadership abilities (rooted in research) those behaviors would require. Choose three. Scarcity compels clarity. And it increases your chances of success.

4. If you can’t measure it, it doesn’t exist. My seventh grade teacher used to repeat that sentence. Leadership development is multifaceted and measurable. If you’re investing in travel for one of your critical players, make sure there’s a way to measure the observable behaviors and capabilities you’re working to hone in on in the first place. This is the only way to check the effect.

Originating in the mid-14th century, the word “efficacious” comes from a Latin word meaning “proceeding from something else; result, consequence’.

When we talk about effective leadershipwe’re really talking about specific outcomes that follow specific behaviors.

So preface your development initiative with a people strategy: diagnose your current situation and identify the behaviors you need to see in your work culture before you train the leaders to implement them.

It’s a process so disruptive that it will change your definition of “leadership”—no longer a subjective set of characteristics that someone should have, but instead a clear job function of the skills your organization requires to achieve its goals. Build a leader like that and you’ll keep them.•


Haskett is a leadership consultant at Advisa, a Carmel-based leadership consultancy.

Leave a Comment