Leadership development: use experts wisely

August 29, 2018 by Wally Bock

Leadership development programs depend on experts to make the program effective. Too many companies try to make do with people from inside the company. Bill Treasurer describes how that often plays out in his article “Supercharging Leadership Development: Working with Sherpas.”

“When designing your leadership development program, it is helpful to bring in experts to share their knowledge at multiple points along the way. Too often, companies adopt a ‘do-it-ourselves’ approach to leadership development, either to lower costs, or out of arrogance, thinking, ‘No one from the outside can possibly understand our uniqueness.’ Most such programs never achieve their full impact potential, and many eventually fail. While it may be tempting to design a leadership program entirely with internal resources and subject matter experts, the DIY approach is often more costly from a lost-opportunity standpoint. Such programs often lack contemporary leadership knowledge and outside best practices, and instead run the risk of perpetuating a ‘we know leadership best’ or ‘not invented here’ mentality.”

There are two kinds of experts to consider. You’ll get more value if you choose and use them wisely.

Leadership development and homegrown experts

The big selling point for homegrown experts is that they know the company and its culture. Here are two ways you can use them. You will think of more.

Use leaders from your company with “street cred” to share insights about the company and the industry. Put a few of those leaders on a panel and have them take questions from aspiring leaders. Use them as mentors.

Leadership development and experts from outside

Outside experts can provide benefits without adding to staff. Some will be leadership experts who can bring an outside perspective and knowledge of the best practices of other companies.

Hire specialists to fill specific needs. Instructional designers can make your courses more effective. Writers can improve your written materials.

Connect internal experts, who know your company and culture, with outside specialists. That way you can create cutting edge programs that meet the specific needs and use the specific language of your aspiring leaders.

Wally Bock is a coach, a writer and President of Three Star Leadership.

Posted in Leadership Development

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