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Why Leadership Programs Don’t Work

| June 21, 2011

by Jim Bruce

I found this interesting read “Why Leadership Programs Don’t Work” by Kelly Goldsmith and Marshall Goldsmith in BNET.  It’s really short infomercial aimed squarely at you.

A few years ago Marshall Goldsmith and Howard Morgan studied eight different companies with 86,000 participants, including 11,000 recognized as leaders, in executive coaching programs.  Every leader focused on one to three specific areas of improvement, received feedback in a 360 process, and was asked to discuss what he/she learned with co-workers.  Co-workers were also asked to assess whether this person became a more effective leader.  The results:

•  With no discussion of their learnings, co-workers saw no change.

•  With a little discussion of learnings, co-workers saw some improvement.

•  With a lot of discussion of what was being learned, the results “went through the roof.”

So, if you don’t do the work, its like watching Arnold Schwarzenegger lift weights and expecting to develop muscles.  “To become a better leader, you must have the fire within to change, to do the actual work, and – this is the key – have the humility and courage to discuss your progress with a colleague.”

So, the key variable is you, and your relationship to the people around you.

Do think seriously about discussing your work on leading with your team!


.  .  .  .     jim