We all know that training budgets are under constant pressure. In global businesses where budgets are managed locally, it’s often the case that if business is tough and the market is difficult, the training budget is cut or, at best, diverted elsewhere.
As a result, many international businesses centralize the leadership training budget so that they have at least some control over ensuring that leadership training is appropriate and ensures a full talent pool of future global leaders.
If your global leadership program is sourced and funded centrally, these approaches will enable you to get the most out of your program:
1. Conduct a Training Analysis.
The analysis doesn’t have to be an arduous task, but it is an essential initial step in making sure that the training solution you invest in can actually deliver what your participants need. This will save you time and money in the design phase and later on, when you come to repeat the training, you’ll be confident that you have a solution that won’t require countless adjustments. Helpful analysis can include stakeholder interviews, review and appraisal forms, or quick questionnaires. The approaches are endless – it’s just important that you do it.
2. Use Existing Content.
Leadership approaches and models don’t really change; they may be repackaged from time to time, but the essence is the same. If your business has done leadership training before, take some time to go through the materials and key models and pick out anything useful.
3. Enlist the Help of a Program Champion.
When delivering a successful program, half the battle is making sure that the right people want to participate and that they are supported by their manager and peers. A program champion, often someone in a senior position, will help to sell the program from the top down, ensuring that everyone recognizes its value.
4. Use Internal Expertise to Help With Design.
Developing a successful leadership program is more than just putting the right models and concepts together. Assembling a design team with internal expertise alongside an external consultant can make sure that content and approach are aligned to business requirements and training needs.
5. Invite Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) to Contribute to Content and Delivery.
Internal SMEs can significantly improve the impact of your program by providing content that is relevant and up to date. Leadership programs can also benefit from external experienced facilitators who are supported by a range of guest SMEs on key specialist topics.
6. Integrate Virtual Capabilities and E-Learning.
Use tools like virtual sessions, online games and business simulations to save travel costs and increase the ways you can pass information to learners. If you have your own banks of e-learning modules, use them as part of the pre-work, follow-up or other stage of the learning journey. If you don’t have these resources available to you, an alternative is to choose an external supplier that can offer you access to e-learning as part of its program delivery package.
7. Incorporate Real Business Challenges.
Another way of maximizing the impact of your training is for participants to use their new skills to solve a real business problem.
8. Fully Involve Line Managers.
Training is most effective when it continues to be supported and developed in the workplace. Your program should be accessible to line managers to enable them to prepare participants for the training, support them during the program, and coach and embed their skills afterwards.
9. Enable Additional Support Networks, Such as Mentoring and Peer Coaching.
Internal mentoring and peer coaching programs can provide a welcome addition to the development approach and have many benefits for both the mentor/coach and the learner.
10. Choose Content and Approach Over Logistics.
In practical terms, when you analyze your budget, it’s not unusual to find that logistics, such as venue, accommodation, meals and travel, account for around 50 to 70 percent of the total spend. These costs are a huge part of your budget but don’t directly contribute to the development of your people. Simple changes can make a big difference. For example, use an on-site meeting room, and start training later in the day so that people can travel in the morning. Encourage shared travel, and consider simple working lunches over full sit-down meals. All of these elements can make a huge difference on the overall spend.
When it comes to developing a new leadership program, it’s easy to get swept away and try to start completely from scratch. Take some time choosing an experienced supplier that will work with you to develop a tailored solution that leverages the best people and content resources that you already have in your business.