Why Leadership is Essential for Success

Joseph Jaworski Posted by Joseph Jaworski.

Joseph is the founder and chairman of both Generon International and the Global Leadership Initiative. He is the author of Source: The Inner Path of Knowledge Creation.

Why Leadership is Essential for Success

Why Leadership Training is Essential for Success

With noble intentions, organizations in the United States spend nearly $200 billion dollars on leadership training. And I’m sorry. Whenever I hear the word “training”, I think of monkeys. Or sea lions at Sea World spinning balls on their noses.

Can leaders even be trained? The jury’s still out on that one. Some declare that leaders are born; and just as many say that leaders can be made.

My view is that we all have the ability to lead. But training people won’t work. We must instead develop people to lead – a subtle yet essential distinction to which Forbes contributor, Mike Myatt, would agree. In his December 2012 blog, Myatt points out some of the main differences between training and development. http://www.forbes.com/sites/mikemyatt/2012/12/19/the-1-reason-leadership-development-fails/

Training Leaders

Developing Leaders

Blends to a norm

Occurs beyond the norm

Content/curriculum/technique focused

People focused

Tests patience

Tests courage

Focuses on the present

Focuses on the future

Adheres to standards

Maximizes potential



Centers on maintenance

Centers on growth

Concentrates on the role

Concentrates on the person



Maintains status quo

Catalyzes innovation

Stifles culture

Enriches culture

Encourages compliance

Emphasizes performance

Emphasizes efficiency

Emphasizes effectiveness

Geared towards problems

Geared towards solutions

Focuses on reporting lines

Expands influence

Places people in a box

Frees people from the box



Based on the knowns

Explores the unknowns

Places people in a comfort zone

Moves people beyond their comfort zones

Training is FINITE

Development is INFINITE

You may consider training vs. development to be nothing more than semantics; yet I think the distinctions above suggest otherwise.

So now that we have that on the table, why is leadership development so essential for success?


Most of us who spend our lives in organizations find a routine we can comfortably settle into, doing our work to the best of our ability. We learn what’s required to do a good job as we discover the Company “rules of the road”. Unless we work in HR or some similar department, rarely do we concern ourselves with things like organizational capability, productivity, culture, performance and (perhaps least of all) leadership. All things considered; those sorts of things are for upper management to address.

But if leadership is about how to transform human potential into organizational results, we should all be paying attention. And this is why leadership development is essential for success.

A recent study conducted by the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology shows that successful organizations actively engaged in leadership development found the “average investment in those activities was $500,000 with an average ROI of $1,000,000. Returns manifested in improved global competitiveness, profitability, sales and shareholder value,” illustrating the extensive benefits of investing in leadership development. This same research also shows that “the impact of a leader is not fully realized in the organization for about three years; so patience is necessary when evaluating and realizing the full effects of leadership development investments”.

Think about it this way: A company that desires to enrich its culture by focusing on the development of its employees will cultivate committed, courageous, educated, innovative, effective, empowered, futuristic thinking people working in an organization that supports them to transform, grow, problem-solve, and perform beyond the norm, yielding improved global competitiveness, increased profitability and expanded shareholder value.

Isn’t that worth three years?

The post Why Leadership is Essential for Success appeared first on Generon International.