There is a significant disconnect between what leaders intuitively know is important versus how we will get our future leaders to carry the torch. Leadership misses the mark when it comes to the critical importance of learning strategy in corporate training.
Leaders often build their corporate strategy around areas that will help their business sustain profitability. They carefully make plans to steer their organization in the right direction focusing on initiatives that can easily be tied to the bottom line.
This thought process is apparent in the outcome of a recent Brandon Hall Group study, Optimizing Learning to Drive Performance. The study asked participants to rate certain strategies as being either critical, important, somewhat important, or not important. As you can see in the graph below, 56.5% of Executives polled stated, “Business Strategy” as vital to implement in their organization, with “Financial Strategy” and “Operational Strategy” tying for second place. However, 41.2% claim that “People Strategy” (including Talent Management Strategy, Leadership Strategy, and Leadership Development Strategy) is critical to implement in their organizations. This makes sense considering you will need to groom and grow future leaders to carry on the core corporate business strategy, financial strategy, and operational strategy needed to sustain the business.
This is nothing new and has been the foundation of most corporations – continue to operate effectively and efficiently while remaining profitable. However, the Brandon Hall research study uncovered a disconnect between the “People Strategy” and “Learning Strategy”. The poll showed Learning Strategy as the least critical strategy out of all the strategies listed in the survey, with only 18% stating Learning Strategy as critical to implement. Suppose you think about that for a minute. How can you develop the right talent and the most qualified leadership designed to carry out your organization’s most critical business strategies without emphasizing Learning Strategy?
After all, it is leadership that dictates how organizations ebb and flow by establishing the business, financial, and operational strategies critical to the company’s growth. If you plan to invest in your people, it seems somewhat counterintuitive to leave “Learning Strategy” on the back burner. How do you plan on helping your future leaders make the connection between business strategy, operational strategy, and people strategy without leadership training or investing in learning initiatives? It leaves you wondering how can an organization effectively plan its’ people strategy without giving them the right tools and desired corporate knowledge?
Standardizing learning objectives regarding decision making, planning, and effective strategy development are the building blocks of a cohesive organization. However, none of this will come to fruition on its own if no one is willing to make learning and training a priority. This emphasizes that creating a learning and training first company culture is a critical initial step to establishing leadership continuity in any organization.