Coming Out Of A Recession, You Will Need True Leaders

Posted in : HR Updates ROI on 28 May 2014
Ella Nilakanthi Ford
KFV Consulting
Issues covered:

NilaKanthi Ford writes:
If you want to change the way people run your business the last thing they will need is training.  At KFVC we resist the “T” word as much as possible.  It is always a concern when we are asked to provide a “training programme” as we have more than a suspicion that the organisation which has requested it may have based the request on an ill-founded premise. 

Training does not deliver leaders.   Most “training” do not even come close to accomplishing what it was expected to do – build better leaders. So, in this month’s article I will give you some areas to focus on to ensure your leadership development programmes deliver.

U.S. businesses spend more than $170 Billion dollars on leadership-based curriculum, with the majority of those dollars being spent on “Leadership Training.”  

You don’t train leaders you develop them.

The challenges that will be brought about by the speed of change, the world of the Cloud and the scale of growth as we come out of recession, will require a new generation of leaders who are able to learn quickly and act wisely – both now and in the future. Global expansion, market complexity, data security issues and hyper-competitiveness raise the stakes even further.  More effective strategies are needed to develop the next generation of leaders faster and on a larger scale than ever before.

At KFVC, our experience, having worked with literally thousands of leaders, is that “training” is the reason leadership development fails.  The terms “training” and “development” have somehow become synonymous.  They are not. 


Training focuses on best practices.  Development focuses on next practices. Training is often a bit of a “sheep dip”.  It is rote, one directional; one dimensional, one size fits all.  Training is an authoritarian process that imposes static information on people.  The majority of training is a monologue (lecture/presentation) rather than a dialogue.  Perhaps, worst of all, training usually occurs within a vacuum.  It is driven by the organisation and trainer’s past experience.  Future strategy is seldom incorporated.  So, already you will be limiting your outcome by the experience of your “trainer”.

The Solution

The solution to creating a new generation of organisational leaders is to move from “training” to “development”.   Don’t send high potential employees to training sessions.  Create experiential workshops, coach them, mentor them and develop them. 

Training attempts to standardise normalise and acclimatise.  Development creates differentiation.  Your people will challenge the status quo.  Training is something that is imposed.  People will embrace and look forward to development.   Development is contextual, collaborative and flexible.   Above all, individuals can take accountability and the necessary actions needed to become true leaders.

Some of the main differences between training and development:






Takes people beyond normal

Focuses on technique, content, curriculum

Focuses on people, their present and future

Tests patience

Challenges courage

Maintains status quo

Encourages growth

Sticks to standards

Makes the most of individual potential

Focuses on the role

Focuses on the individual



Supports “as is”

Creates the foundation for innovation

Stifles culture

Enriches culture

Designed  for compliance

Emphasises performance

Encourages efficiency

Encourages effectiveness

Focuses on problems

Focuses on solutions

Reinforces reporting lines and hierarchy

Expands influence



Based on the known

Explores unknowns

Creates a comfort zone

Pushes out the comfort zone

Training is a process

Development is a journey

So, if you desire static worker bees – train them.  If you’re seeking leaders who are innovative, critical thinkers develop them.   For sustained success, every business enterprise must evolve, so must its leaders.

This article is correct at 07/10/2015

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Ella Nilakanthi Ford
KFV Consulting

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