Leadership development - needed again?

Reading the Wall Street Journal this morning, I saw a short article on leadership development.

According to the author, Joe Light, employers cut spending on training in both 2008 and 2009, and about half of the 750 corporations in a Bersin and Associates survey plan to increase their leadership development budgets.

It's always interesting that development investments - whether that's in marketing, research, or people - tend to get cut the quickest during downturns.

So why is that?

training group.jpg

My take is that management tends to focus on the short-term even more myopically during downturns, and if there isn't direct payoff or linkage to revenue those costs/investments are likely to stop.

Of course, companies that dabble in the "shrink to greatness" model are counting on their ability to get those investments (which also likely represent exactly what differentiates them from their competition) going and quickly ramp up again. Yet the very nature of the qualities of great marketing, product research, and people development are that they take time to work right.

As someone I know is fond of saying "Nine women can't have a baby in a month."

It will be interesting to see how many companies are able to restart their leadership development pipelines quickly enough to prevent the company from crashing when customers and employees alike decide they have choices again.

Chris Hutchinson, CEO

Chris Hutchinson, CEO