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Thursday, February 04, 2010

The Multiplier Effect of Training for Leaders

So, you have a limited training budget and you need to prioritize where you will invest it? Take Pareto's advice. Spend it on the 20% whose performance make 80%(or thereabout) of the impact. Invest it in equipping your managers and supervisors who make strategic and tactical decisions everyday. if you do and if you make sure all the necessary preparations and follow through are in place, the benefits will cascade down to the ranks. If you are asking what I mean exactly by what I just said, see my article on strategic training and development planning.

Which training has the most multiplier effect? Here are my suggestions:

Leadership Training - People perform better when they are inspired and influenced by their leaders. They care more about the organization and the others in the team. A good leadership training equips the leader to communicate goals, build teamwork, establish norms for collaboration, demonstrate the right behaviors and motivate people to align themselves with the organization's goals. It should also equip leaders to be flexible in how they deal with their employees. While many people intuitively do most if not all the things I just said, I don't think anyone will not benefit from validating their leadership practices and then fine tune them. I've heard several times how some hr managers defend the idea that their managers don't need this kind of training by saying, they've gone to a similar ones. I can only agree if these leaders they are talking about happen to practice what they learned from past training. If they haven't, I'd say it's time for some refreshers.

Basic Supervisory or Management Course - if your supervisors or managers are at work without understanding the basics of planning, leading, organizing and controlling, they are driving by the seat of their pants. That is not a comforting situation to any passenger. I suggest that you make sure they know and use these basic tools of management.

Managing Employee Performance - If there's any training that I expect to have the most multiplier effect, I believe this would be it. If your managers and supervisors make the habits of clarifying goals, monitoring performance, developing employees' capacity to perform through training and coaching, appraising performance and rewarding good performance, people will learn how to do their jobs better and perform better. Performance Management is such an important managerial skill. I wonder why very few HR Managers champion it. Really, very few.

Coaching and mentoring - Do your managers and supervisors deliberately use coaching and mentoring tactics when working with their team members or are they driving by the seat of their pants again? Some people mistake coaching to just talking to their employees about performance issues. This is why some managers call scolding sessions as coaching sessions and then they take pride of their so called coaching skills. Don't you think it's time they put this idea of coaching and mentoring into perspective and use proven techniques that help people become better at what they do?
Facilitating problem solving and creativity sessions- Building a culture that breeds creativity requires that leader give enough opportunity for people to solve problems and think creatively. In order for them to perform this leaderly task effectively, they should have some tools they can use to facilitate the discussions. Tools like 8D, Kaizen, Six Thinking Hats and mind mapping comes to mind as great tools to harness the team's brain power. As people are allowed to flex their mental muscles, they become more creative and innovative. All these should benefit the company and return your training investment well.

Leaders, whether they go by supervisor, manager, officer or any other title, play a much too important role to just be left alone without being properly equipped. In these trying times when training money is hard to come by, spend whatever amount you have in training your leaders. Want to make sure the multiplier effect happens? call this number (02)8933199. Look for April or Loren or call me at 639189399294 (Ya, I know, shameless self promotion again, yada,yada,yada!)


  1. I like this post. Explore some more on the Pareto Principle Ed, or maybe you can also include Parkinson's Law to give people more ideas on how to invest in their training.

    Sa tingin ko kahit malaki ang budget, the company must remember Pareto. Remember, 80 percent of expenses produce only 20 percent output.

  2. That 80% rule is what Talent Management is about. While that may sound exclusivist or elitist, well, it is actually, but it is also practical and it makes business sense. In our company, I am responsible in the development of our identified Talents. Our Talent Management system at Prudential worldwide ensures that we invest in the right people using blended approaches that draws them more into real business cases.

    Speaking of approaches, one thing I would like to suggest is the practice of Action Learning. The cost involve is almost zero but the returns are exponentially bigger than any other classroom training. During the last 3 years, I have been managing a cross-functional team of high potential Specialists who are engaged in various Employee Engagement projects. They learn Leadership, Project Management, Creative Thinking, Decision-Making, Meeting Facilitation, teamwork, and Budget Management through the actual projects they managed and not in the classroom. Each member is given the opportunity to manage projects and facilitate meetings. My role is to structure and process their experience using Action Learning approach started by Revans. And I tell it works with amazing results! The training cost? None, except the energy and time I spend and the occasional food budget I allow during meetings (which is roughly around 20k for 12 highly talented individuals).

  3. Just to clarify, the PHP 20k I mentioned covers the 12-man team and their entire one year term.

  4. @jun roy, I got interested in action learning some years ago when i was just starting with training and then i dropped the ball somewhere. Let's get together soon so we can exploit this action learning some more

  5. @jef, is it the one that says work expands so as to fill the time required to fulfill it? What about it?

  6. I'm also involve in the Succession Planning and Talent Management in our Organization and I agree with Ed's list. The good thing with our organization is that our Executive Management give us a very generous budget in oursourced training. We narrow our training providers to 'London Business School, IMD, INSEAD, Ashridge and MCE'.


If you have an opinion about this topic or a related experience you want to share, please feel free to leave a comment but please be respectful. No bad words please or I will be constrained to delete it.