So tell me again, why did we reduce investment in leadership development?
By Chris Sheppardson, Managing Director, EP
Discussions over culture, people and leadership development used to be on almost every board agenda but today it is very rare to talk to a CEO about these three issues bar trying to answer why there are seemingly fewer emerging leaders break through.
It is all linked together. The good news is that there is a growing awareness of the issue and some great work, by many companies and people, is taking place to change the landscape.
One can argue over the causes and many will date back to the early to mid-00s when all a whole number of jumbled thinking came together to change to treat people almost as commodities.
It was a common argument in those days that the average lifespan of a FTSE CEO stood between 24-36 months and therefore thinking about people development was a luxury. No, it is a part of leadership and not something that should be delegated away. It says straight away that developing people is secondary to making money – and before we enter that debate, there is a direct link between the two.
In the early 00s job boards took off and companies realised they could create processes that controlled spiralling costs and allowed them to compete for talent in the marketplace on an equal basis. Has the recruitment of talent really improved over the last fifteen years? I would suggest the answer is no – based off the number of people that feel that recruitment processes alienate them, and reject them on a tick box exercise
There is an argument that investment in training and development has halved in relative terms over the last twenty years even though almost every piece of research all those years ago stated that training and development was the No.1 reason why talent was retained within a business or attracted to a business.