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Is It Worth It? Investing in Leadership Development

The top-rated trend reported in the Deloitte 2019 Global Human Capital Trends survey is the need to improve learning and development (L&D). 86% of survey respondents rated this issue important or very important, with only 10 percent of respondents feeling “very ready” to address it.

Business leaders know the futures of their organizations depend on the success of their leadership pipelines. And they also want to know that investing in leadership development will deliver significant value to the organization. Is it worth it?

Numerous studies over the last decade have shown that organizations that invest in leadership development perform better than those who fail to make the investment. Even so, some companies opt not to invest in leadership development because they claim it’s too difficult to measure results or return on investment. Others don’t think leadership development programs work, so why invest time and money on them?

The reality is that all programs are not created equally. To maximize the benefits of your development efforts, here are some things to avoid when implementing your program:

  • Don’t approach the development of your leaders as “training.” Training tends to standardize behavior, involves one-way communication, and usually serves the status quo. As Forbes contributor Mike Myatt has observed, “Training focuses on best practices, while development focuses on next practices.”
  • Don’t attempt to develop everyone at the same time or in the same way. Identify those employees who exhibit a high-potential for leadership and invest in developing them first. They will share the skills and capabilities learned, and can serve to increase employee engagement and interest in future development throughout the organization.
  • Don’t choose a generic, one-size-fits-all program. Identify clear goals for your development initiative and then choose a program that uses real-world challenges to guide changes in behavior.

There are many good reasons to invest in developing your leaders:

  • Improve your bottom line. Reduce costs, increase productivity, improve customer satisfaction.
  • Attract and retain great talent. Support employee engagement and limit turnover in a volatile labor market.
  • Strengthen your corporate culture—you invest in them, they invest in you. Investing in your people and giving them opportunities to improve their individual skills reinforces their importance to the organization and boosts morale.

Executive Forum’s unique Leadership Lab™ uses a highly-interactive, time-phased approach to hone the skills to successfully lead or engage others. Facilitated by leadership thought-leaders, this exceptional program will help you build a high-performing team, optimize your people’s leadership talents, and prepare for a more sustainable future. The next Leadership Lab begins October 4. Contact us to reserve your spot today.

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Executive Forum’s Leadership Development Programs are now available in Seattle.

Call us at 425.505.2150 to find out more about our Seattle schedule.


Leadership Lab
October 4, 11, 18, 25 and Nov. 1, 2019

Mid-level managers strengthen their interpersonal skills, increase accountability, enhance team performance using interactive experiences (30 HRCI/SHRM credits)

Step-Up to Leading Others
Oct. 15, 28, Nov. 7, 2019

Give frontline leaders key insights and specific skills to strengthen their leadership capabilities and create a more engaged workforce (21.75 HRCI/SHRM credits)