Monday, November 28, 2011

Leadership: Training or Development?

by Virgil R. Carter

As a CEO, do you have a group of senior leaders in your organization that you’d like to help grow into your organization’s next generation of executive?  What about supporting your senior staff to become mature executive?  If so, what do you do?  Well, of course, you put them through some training, right?  Wrong!

In a recent article, “Training vs. Development, by Mike Myatt, Chief Strategy Officer, N2growth, you don’t train leaders you develop them.  According to Myatt, “Leadership training is alive and well, but it should have died long, long ago…”

Myatt says that the problem with training is it presumes the need for indoctrination on systems, processes and techniques.  Moreover, training assumes that these systems, processes and techniques are the right way to do things.  The dilemma, describes Myatt, is that training is “often a rote, one directional, one dimensional, one size fits all, authoritarian process”, imposing static, outdated information on people”.

The solution to the leadership problem, he says, is to scrap it in favor of development.  “Don’t train leaders, coach them, mentor them…and develop them, but please don’t attempt to train them”.  Development strives to focus on the unique and differentiate by shattering the status quo.  Myatt has a list pointing out some of the differences between training and development, including:

·          Training focuses on the present—Development focuses on the future
·          Training focuses on technique—Development focuses on talent
·          Training focuses on maintenance—Development focuses on growth
·          Training focuses on the role—Development focuses on the person
·          Training focuses on efficiency—Development focuses on effectiveness

Myatt concludes saying, “If what you desire is a robotic, static thinker—train them.  If you’re seeking innovative, critical thinkers—develop them”. 

For a copy of the full article, go here:


Jony Gibson said...

Very nice post on leadership training and development. I find this post very helpful to me. Many thanks for sharing this information.
Future Leader

Yasmin Anderson-Smith said...

Virgil's post is insightful and offers food for thought. While I agree with his perspective on training, there are many advantages to be gained from integrating training and development rather than choosing one over the other. While I agree with Virgil that training can be one directional, one dimensional, and take a one-size-fits all approach, training is complementary to development. In our highly globalized world, the challenge how to revise the old, static training model to create a more relationship based framework that delivers values-based skills training that enhance human interactions inside and outside corporate arenas, online and offline. This is the 21st Century imperative for corporations and organizations. Examples include emotional intelligence, values based leadership, civility as the new image and personal voice management. I am on board with Virgil’s point that development is more forward thinking and also believe it should teach participants "how to fish" rather than hand out fishes. In addition to being focused on the future, the person and creating efficiency, development should also be integrative, cross-channeled, sustainable and have a global perspective.