The Mindful Leadership Blog

Just In! Why Leadership Development Doesn’t Work

October 25th, 2018

What’s hot?

Leadership development and training programs are a $14 billion industry*.  Despite this, a whopping 75% of organizations report that their leadership development programs lack effectiveness**.

So what?

Corporate execs, T&D and HR managers need to develop new learning models that fit the needs of 21st century supervisors and aspiring leaders.  This is the first of a series that explores actions necessary to rev up the effectiveness of leadership development.

Classroom training where instructors spend hours or days drenching supervisors and managers with a firehose of lectures, leadership tools and techniques doesn’t work due to one obvious but overlooked phenomenon.  It’s the forgetting curve – a mathematical formula developed by Hermann Ebbinghaus that describes the rate at which something is forgotten after it is initially learned.

Within one hour, people forget nearly half of the information presented to them. Within 24 hours, they forget around 65% percent of new information. In 6 days, forgetting claims an average of 80% of the information presented.  It is the Achilles heel of classical classroom training. No matter how much you invest in leadership training and development, nearly everything you teach will be forgotten.







What to do?

Action #1:  Stop making your future leaders drink from a firehose.

Develop micro lessons that teach the crucial few steps to demonstrate a skill.  Follow the “how to” content with immediate in-the-moment practice (to promote retention). Encourage participants to share their learnings with colleagues and follow the lesson with regular prompts to apply the skill on the job (two more retention techniques).

Stay tuned for more about how to recalibrate your leadership development to maximize learning and on the job application while meeting the expectations and needs of 21st century supervisors.

If leadership development doesn’t work, what does?  Click here for your free copy of the white paper, “Why Micro is the Answer to Your Macro Leadership Development Needs”.

*Kaiser Leadership Solutions

**Brandon Hall’s State of Leadership Development 2015.



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