One of the essentials we espouse to help cure the The Sad State of Leadership Development is to assure that any initiative begins by framing the development in a manner that clearly links outcomes to effort, linking “Why is this important?” to “How is this accomplished?”. This framing sets the stage and helps our brains be prepared for and pay attention to something new. Certain neurochemicals need to be released in our brains to create a state where we are curious and open to learning. The levels of those chemical increase when we see value in a situation and when we see the situation as relevant to us personally.
Having a planned and targeted impact for development does more than prepare individuals to learn. It puts employee development on par with other business functions. In multiple ways all organizations focus on the planning. For example, budget and operational plans, logistical project planning, IT implementation plans all meet a standard of establishing a starting point from which projects begin. Traditionally, professional development for employees has not meet the same standard as these other business functions. While we often hear that “there is just not enough time,” that explanation does not work for budgetary or operational planning. These efforts which might consume the entire last quarter of the fiscal year.
Tying development to business planning and outcomes is a certain way to increase the perceived value of development as a business outcome, along with helping to improve actual business outcomes.