You are researching different training and development options for your managers. You want to know the advantages and disadvantages. The advantages seem more clear. So what is the downside of training your managers?
Frankly speaking, we at Hallett Leadership don’t know of any disadvantages to training and developing your managers into a cohort of high performance leaders.
While it is possible for training and development itself to be executed poorly, there isn’t any inherent downside. Even if training upsets the status quo from time to time, this is a function of growth. Growth can be characterized in many ways, but not usually as “disadvantageous.”
Instead of discussing the disadvantages of middle management training (there aren’t any), let’s explore how growth can challenge companies to CHANGE.
A Cohort of High Performance Leaders Emerges… And C-Suite Has A New Challenge
Here’s an example of a challenge that comes up when you initiate change through training and development: 20th Century Fox had an intense culture that often inhibited people from bringing forward unsolicited new ideas.
Then we workshopped 1100 people through a rigorous, 9-month leadership development program. Suddenly, the studio had 1100 people inspired to bring forth ideas to elevate the organization. Initially, this presented a level of chaos.
Senior leadership clearly saw the need to put some structure around this surge of new ideation from all these inspired people – who expected to at least have their ideas heard. Without such a structure, we didn’t have the proper bandwidth to listen to all the new ideas, and risked team members concluding that management’s desire to hear the team’s ideas was just lip service.
We needed to create a receptacle for all the new inputs being generated – or risk abandoning our vision of being “an open, collaborative culture where creativity and innovation thrive.”
We ended up creating a steering committee that could review the suggestions, combine similar ideas, and create task forces to take deeper dives into key areas. This approach substantially reduced the chaos. The challenge of modifying the operating structure to evaluate new ideas was successfully accomplished. This is a natural phenomenon in response to growth – things sometimes have to change.
Be Willing To Put The Right Culture In Place And Let it Be Infectious
Leadership training and development is so much more than technical training or engineering. It empowers individuals to perform at higher levels and influences your organization toward operating at a new baseline of high performance.
If you’re coming from a place of wanting to develop your people, true leadership training is a highly worthy approach
If your company is undertaking training and development in order to have the troops fall into line and blindly obey commands from the top… you may be wandering down the wrong path.
Instead, consider drawing forth from people what is already there. The focus is to eliminate the barriers that prevent your team from bringing their ideas forward.
For example, Hallett Leadership’s signature Accelerated Leadership Program leads participants on a journey to think in new and creative ways, embrace others’ opinions and feedback, get all ideas on the table, and work collaboratively across all divisions of the company.
What frequently happens in the aftermath of such a program is that those mid-level managers who are driving change – who are pushing out their edges, collaborating and creating with their peers in entirely new and exciting ways – begin to look above them at the c-suite folks, and whisper among each other:
“What about them? This new way of collaborating on challenges and operating at high performance is great, but that is not how our culture works at the higher levels.”
These newly-minted leaders are bringing their new, high performance, collaborative paradigm into the company. Senior leadership can choose to participate in the growing new culture… or they can continue on with business as usual. Usually these new leaders eventually advance through the organization into higher levels of authority and influence, and shift the culture from the inside out.
The other way is for c-suite leaders to participate in the changes being heralded by their cohort of enthusiastic, collaborative middle-tier executives. When senior leadership jumps on board, the transformation is much more immediate as they prioritize the development of the new culture companywide.