The Point: Leadership Development can be an expensive proposition. With most options starting at $50k, what’s an organization to do that is looking to generate tomorrow’s leaders today, or for the up and comer who’s organization doesn’t offer any type of development program? (Hint: If you’re at an organization that doesn’t offer leadership development and it’s important to you, you’re probably at the wrong place!) In this post we take a look at five (5) no or low cost options for organizations or individuals that are searching for leadership development options… Enjoy!
We Develop Our Leaders (Don’t We?)
Jim’s organization was a lot like most fairly new ones that successfully had gone through the “startup” moment of ideation, creation, launch pad through lift off. While they were currently in year five (5) of their initiative, annual revenue was now approaching $100M and along with revenue growth personnel increased as well. He was at the point in their organizational growth where they wanted to continue to live in the “startup” moment, but insure that tomorrow’s leaders were being recruited/cultivated/developed today.
However Jim and the organization had the leadership challenge of the century… They had no clear Human Resources department nor any type of leadership development program. With this in mind, Jim and his leadership team setout to develop the following five (5) no/low cost leadership development options.
Option #1: Individual Development Plans with a Leadership Component
Typically, and Jim’s organization isn’t different from most, an organization will establish Individual Development Plans (IDPs) on an annual basis. These IDPs typically consist of the individual’s goals in reference to those of their team’s, department’s and organization’s. Think of it as an “If we need to get there, we need you to do ___” coordination moment.
Where Jim’s organizational IDPs took a hard-left turn was in the implementation of leadership development components therein. In other words, if you want to grow leaders, you need to be able to provide goals to do so that are akin to the goals that you typically establish. More important, these IDPs should be reviewed on a monthly basis so as to avoid the once a year “surprise” that one typically experiences.
Option #2: Free Online Courseware
Isn’t the internet wonderful? As a leader, you probably have some differing thoughts on just how “wonderful” it is. Jim for example was often frustrated by his employees and their ability to engage in non-productive work on sites like Facebook and games like Angry Birds. Recognizing that there still could be some good that comes from the internet and its ability to aid in leadership development moments, we implemented a series of “Leadership Development” courses from sites like Coursera (www.coursera.org). These courses typically are free, and some offer a low fee option to receive certification.
Option #3: Free Executive Coaching
The International Coach Federation – ICF (www.coachfederation.org) offers something akin to the ability for you to get a free haircut at a barber college. The ICF offers a “Coach Referral Source” wherein you can specify the type of coaching you’re interested in (Business Coaching, Executive Coaching, etc.) and begin receiving proposals from coaches across the globe! Sometimes you can secure a free coaching relationship, but just like that haircut from the barber college, sometimes you get what you pay for (Remember, hair will grow back… Your career might not!)
Option #4: Leader as Mentor
Sometimes the best leaders are at your company. If that’s the case, and who wants to admit that you don’t have the best leaders, holding leadership responsible for mentoring a finite quantity of individuals may be just what your organization is looking for.
Keep in mind that most organizations that offer mentoring programs do so in a very ineffective “organic” or “unstructured” capacity. If you’re going to offer a mentoring program, important to keep in mind that this needs to be more than just lunch every once in awhile. Structuring the mentor program around goals/objectives/learning moments is crucial.
Option #5: MasterMind Group
What if leadership development program participants (or leaders for that matter) were able to gather around the table (either real or virtual) to discuss their biggest problems and receive perspective on potential solutions? If the meetings are held in a confidential environment and open/honest feedback is provided, and members held other members accountable for taking action based on what they heard nothing!
From my time at Vistage (www.vistage.com), both as a member and working at their world headquarters in San Diego, I saw firsthand the benefits of such gatherings. At Tip of the Spear, we’re piloting a program next quarter called The Leadership Advisory Board (or “LAB” for short) that has many of the same features, and a few new/unique ones (If you’re interested in finding out more and/or participating, use the CONTACT US page of this website to inquire).
So you might not have $50k to spend on each leadership development candidate in your organization. I hope in this post I’ve identified five no/low cost alternatives for you to pursue. Remember, your business is no different from the others inasmuch the people will make the difference. Investing in your people today will continue to drive business results tomorrow, but those investments don’t always need to be costly.
PS – You may also enjoy some of the other recent posts I wrote:
- The Leadership Challenge: Office Backstabbing – 5 Leadership Lies to Avoid
- The Leadership Challenge: Should You Stay OR Should You Go? 5 Criteria
- The Leadership Challenge: Succession Planning
- The Leadership Challenge: Why HR Isn’t Developing YOU as a Leader
- The Leadership Challenge: Helping Those That Don’t Want Help
- The Leadership Challenge: Saying “Thank You”
- The Leadership Challenge: Are You Mindful?
- The Leadership Challenge: Are You Better Off Lucky Than Good?
- The Leadership Challenge: Can You Drive the Development of Leaders Who Transform Your Business?
- What’s Inside Your Leadership Time Capsule?
- The Leadership Challenge: 10 Characteristics to Develop Your Executive Presence
- The Leadership Challenge: Happy New Year! Now What?
- Leadership Amnesia: Should You Forget the Past to Move Forward to a Better Future?
- The Leadership Challenge: Are Your SMART Goals DUMB?
- The Leadership Challenge: Are You Climbing the Leadership Mountain?
- The Leadership Challenge: They Want You To Fail! 8 Leadership Tips to Overcome Failure
- The Leadership Challenge: Do You Exercise Your Moral Muscle?
- The Leadership Challenge: Conducting Post-Mortem Reviews