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Playbook

The Business Case for Developing Leaders at All Levels

November 14, 2017

Employee training

Many organizations realize that it is critical to continually develop talent to take on more leadership behaviors, regardless of employees’ level or position. But an organization-wide approach to leadership development can be met with resistance.

Growing leadership talent takes time and effort. It requires the participation of management to identify, train, and coach employees so that they can function as leaders within the scope of their jobs. In addition, many organizations have cut back on their employee training budgets, resulting in less opportunity to create training programs.

The benefits of investing in leadership training programs

As background, developing new leaders can better equip organizations to do the following:

  • Increase the quality of products and services
  • Speed up responsiveness
  • Increase productivity
  • Decrease waste, costs, and inefficiencies
  • Increase creativity and innovation
  • Strengthen decision making and problem solving
  • Improve cooperation
  • Build resilience
  • Prepare people for future management and executive positions
  • Reduce the workload of and stress on executives
  • Free up executives and managers to focus on more strategic issues
  • Remedy performance problems
  • Increase retention of high-performing and high-potential colleagues
  • Provide a development path
  • Increase the commitment of employees to their work and the organization
  • Enhance the performance, satisfaction, and retention of all colleagues

Building your case for leadership development organization-wide

Before embarking on a leadership development program, you need to clarify what the compelling business case is for developing leaders at all levels. What are the benefits to your organization?

A strong case for creating a corporate leadership program includes:

  • The vision regarding the current situation (the problems and the opportunities). Cite problems that could be solved or opportunities that could be exploited.
  • The vision of how leadership at all levels can help. Describe how leadership at all levels solves problems. Explain this in clear and simple terms.
  • The benefits of the approach. Explain what is to be gained by adopting it or lost by not doing so. Describe the positive impact of this approach and use examples to show how it has worked in the past.
  • The costs, risks, obstacles, and objections involved. Forestall any opposition by addressing the audience’s objections and concerns. Describe the negatives that may result if this approach is not adopted.
  • A request for approval and support. Explain clearly what you want them to do.

Your preparation and clear vision will make a compelling business case for why it is critical to develop both new leaders and leaders at all levels within the organization.

Source: Adapted from American Management Association’s Developing Leaders at All Levels course.

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American Management Association is a world leader in professional development, advancing the skills of individuals to drive business success. AMA’s approach to improving performance combines experiential learning—“learning through doing”—with opportunities for ongoing professional growth at every step of one’s career journey. AMA supports the goals of individuals and organizations through a complete range of products and services, including seminars, Webcasts and podcasts, conferences, corporate and government solutions, business books and research.

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