You can determine a person’s priorities by looking at their calendar and checkbook – the same can be said for organizations. As many of you are finalizing your 2016 plans and budgets, you will be confronted with seemingly countless options for the new year – investing in leadership development will be one of them. Today’s Challenge: Why don’t organizations invest more on leadership development?

I have many theories regarding why so many organizations under-invest on their most important strategic bet. Here are a few from my list…

Faulty assumptions about the future. Many organizations assume the future will be an extension of the past. In an unchanging world, leadership is unnecessary, all you need are managers to run the existing play over and over again. It is only in the face of change, or to create change, the world needs leaders.

Success is a lousy teacher. Successful organizations are most susceptible to the temptation to under-invest in leadership development. The logic goes something like this: If what you are doing is working, why rock the boat? Why change? See number one above.

Management confused with leadership. Management is essential to an organization’s long-term success, but management is not leadership. This is why so many organizations are grossly over-managed and drastically under-led. If you believe management leads to success, you will see little need for investments in leadership.

Senior leaders don’t feel the need. Senior leaders, theoretically, are in their roles because they have demonstrated leadership acumen. So, accomplished leaders, often lack empathy and support for those who have not yet developed their leadership skills. This bias often translates into the lack of financial investments as well.

Short-sightedness. An investment in developing leaders pays long-term dividends. However, the short-term benefits are often hard to measure. Many organizations also have systems and mechanisms in place which war against long-term decision making – Bonus structures, Wall Street and quarterly earnings reports, short-term goals, etc.

[tweet_box design=”default”]An investment in developing leaders pays long-term dividends.[/tweet_box]

Already investing… on random acts of training. Many organizations invest a lot of dollars on training and development – the problem: these expenditures are often not strategic. There is a  misconception that random training activities will create a unified, well-led organization. This would be like giving every player on a football team a different playbook and expecting them to execute with excellence – not going to happen.

[tweet_box design=”default”]Without future leaders, you have no future.[/tweet_box]

Does any of this sound familiar? If so, what can you do?

Think, act and invest strategically. Every dollar you do spend on leadership development should be carefully allocated. Without future leaders, you have no future.[GLS_Shield]

 

Author: Mark Miller

Mark is a business leader, author, communicator, photographer, husband, and father. He spends his time helping leaders grow.