Leadership development and application seem to be hard to connect. The intention is usually there to connect the developmental investment with the application back on the job but doing that seems elusive.

Perhaps there is a disconnect between leadership development and application. As a consultant, I have facilitated many hours of leadership development training. In most of these cases there was an intention to connect development and application but it wasn’t happening.

It has become obvious to me that to make the connection between leadership development and application there must be more than intent. There must be a process in place that requires follow up by leaders throughout the organization to assure that the connection is made.

If leadership development is designed to facilitate high performance there must be some way to assure application so the resources, both financial and human are not wasted. Is it possible that developing leaders and measuring the application of the development efforts does not flow through to the performance management/development process?

In some cases, leadership development efforts may begin without full consideration of the performance objectives of the program. In other words, the development effort is not directly related to achieving the organizational goals. I suspect that occasionally there may be some budget dollars available and they must be spent or be lost and programs are designed and implemented without a direct connection to an organizational result.

All leadership development efforts should be designed and implemented in support of the overall organization plans and goals. If the process starts there the leadership development programs will be designed to provide additional tools for the operating management team so they can achieve their goals in support of the organization goals. Initiating leadership development this way may take longer and it certainly requires additional thought and collaboration, however it will have a much stronger positive impact to the organization.

It’s time to include leadership development as part of the strategic direction and overall goals of the organization. Taking this step early will more than likely be more cost effective and will go a long way toward connecting leadership development and application.

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