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Why Most Leadership Development Efforts Fail

Leadership is a complex network of skills. Much like playing a musical instrument professionally, mastering a martial art, or flying a high-performance jet, leadership requires thousands of training hours to demonstrate exceptional leadership capabilities reliably.

Can you imagine trying to learn to play the violin at a world-class level by reading case studies of great violin players in history without picking up the violin to practice? How much measurable progress would you make listening to lectures on the accomplishments of other great violinists while your instrument rested quietly in its case next to you? Worse yet, how would your skills develop by studying the character traits of many of these accomplished musicians? 

As absurd as this sounds, this is what the majority of leadership trainings advance in their programming: interesting case studies, illuminating theories, and insightful leadership qualities delivered by brilliant instructors. Yet, the instrument is rarely taken out of its case. 


Leaders may return to their companies full of aspirations, yet when they run their next meeting, interface with colleagues, and approach their planning, they repeat the same skills. The same level of competence is demonstrated again and again. Last year's abilities are applied once again to this quarter's goals.

Research into Complex Skill Instructional Design tells us that you must break the overall ability down into specific skill sets and techniques to learn any complex skill. Each of these must then be trained rigorously and then woven together. Expert Performance Theory estimates that people require 10,000 hours of training to demonstrate world-class abilities.

We have been diligently pioneering what we call a practice-based action-learning methodology in leadership development over the past twenty years. We can save your organization a lot of time, energy, money, and frustration by clearly showing you what works and what doesn't.

Let us save you a lot of time, energy, money, and heartburn and tell you what works.


More recent research into the current state of leadership training and thought leadership on the future of leadership development are beginning to catch up with what we've been honing in on the past twenty years. Assessment of typical leadership trainings reveals dismal industry performance. In the US alone, more than $350 billion is spent annually. 90% of these efforts fail, according to the companies and leaders surveyed.

Our methodology moves in concert with what some of the leading experts in the field are expecting. 
First, the old guard of leadership training programs and their concurrent methods are being disrupted and displaced. 
Second, new approaches are yielding, better outcomes that can be measured. 


Third, more attention is being spent training the soft skills necessary to manage relationships and teams better, engineering more purposeful cultures while leveraging more significant motivations and activating latent potentials in people.