Two broad paths to a leadership development program for employers in Wyoming

Among the biggest mistakes employers can make is assuming their leaders are finished products. Whether a supervisor, middle manager or executive, leaders need continuous development to keep up with the ever-evolving norms, challenges and opportunities to fulfill their roles.

The good news is leadership development pays off, at least according to one recent survey. Last year, management consultants Better Manager surveyed 752 leadership experts in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom whose job duties include developing internal leadership. Among the most notable statistics in the resulting report, The ROI of Leadership Development, is that responding organizations saw a $7 average return on investment for every $1 spent on efforts to develop their leaders.

Of course, there’s no guarantee you’ll get that positive of a return on investment. It all depends on what your leadership development program looks like. Generally, you have two broad paths to choose from.

Develop internally

Some organizations have the wherewithal and resources to put together their own leadership development programs. These tend to be larger employers that can dedicate the staff to developing the program’s content, perhaps with the help of a consultant, and maintaining it thereafter.

There are two primary advantages to doing it yourself. First, you may be able to control all or most of the costs of designing and running the program rather than paying a hefty fee to an external provider. Second, you can design and maintain the program’s content using all the detailed knowledge of your organization that only you possess — including details of upcoming strategic plans that may drive the need to upgrade certain leadership skills.

On the downside, it can be an incredible draw on internal resources to lay out a blueprint for a leadership development program, implement that plan and then run the program. And make no mistake — leadership development programs demand a long-term commitment to see a return on investment.

Work with an external provider

The alternative is to engage an outside consulting firm to develop and even run a leadership development program for you. Doing so may especially suit smaller organizations, or perhaps those just getting started with the concept. This has the advantage of being a one-time or occasional cost, rather than an ongoing draw on your staff’s time and energy. You should also get the intensive expertise of a specialist in this area.

And the disadvantages? For starters, you’ll need to search for, vet and hammer out a deal with the consultant. That alone will take some time. In addition, the cost can be a substantial hit to your cash flow, and you’ll still need to dedicate time and energy to working with the provider to develop the program and monitor the results.

Your leaders may not feel as engaged either, having to deal with external people and materials. And therein lies another key to successful leadership development programs: You’ve got to get buy-in from the executive level on down.

Be mindful and proactive

As the complexity of being an employer in today’s world continues to grow, strong leadership throughout your organization is imperative. There can be real value in mindfully and proactively creating a leadership development program. Contact us for help identifying and evaluating all the costs of whatever approach you’re considering.

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