7 buying mistakes in People Development

No-one sets out to make costly mistakes.  The Leadership, team and cultural development industry is huge.  It is no surprise that the industry has grown as businesses faces rapid change with so many variables, leaders, teams and business cultures need to think act and behave differently to stay ahead in the game.

As a leader or HR professional where do you start when hiring a company to deliver your development solution.  We have listed the top 7 buying mistakes in the L&D market.

  1. Lack of clarity:  It is easy to get confused or buy the wrong solution when you haven’t gained clarity over the problem, or gaps you want to resolve.  You can buy a one-off team building days, to global mastermind group membership, to online courses to pretty much any weird and wonderful solution you can imagine.  But one thing is clear, unless you are really honest and transparent about to what you need, rather than what you want,  you could end up with a very costly buying mistake.   That’s why we spend the time to really get to know your business and your people, and create a solution that works for your needs, and your wants.
  2. A quick fix.  If you want real change in people, teams or cultures you need to dedicate time and resource to make the change.  A two day workshop on changing team behaviours is never going to make a real change and is a mistake.  Any development company that says it can solve your problems quickly should set off warning signals.  It would be nice to have a quick fix, but change takes time and is a journey and your people need to understand that.  Too many times that training manual is shoved in the draw and never looked at again.  It takes times, consistency and evolution.
  3. One size fits all.  We always recommend a blended approach to development which might include internal mentoring, coaching, project work or active learning groups.  We all learn differently and have different starting points, so finding a solution that develops individually is always worth the investment.  We all need leaders and team members to think for themselves, yet one size fits all training often results in sheep dipping or cloning, rather than individual development.
  4. It’s them that needs developing.  We hear this mistake all too often and generally the development solution starts at the top.  If you want to change the culture or the way people work in your business, you should start looking at your own leadership teams behaviours and skills.  You set the tone and role model the behaviours so before you invest in changing others, it is wise to hold the mirror up to your leadership team and see the behaviours and attitudes that you are manifesting.
  5. Return on Investment.  Any business has a limited investment budget and requires some certainty of the return on the investment, and often leaders invest in certainty.  The problem with investing in people and culture development is that it is really difficult to measure and so there is reluctance to invest adequately in a solution that works long term.  It’s not as simple as investing in new software that increases efficiency, or recruiting a number of sales people and increasing turnover.  Developing leaders and teams impacts all areas of your business, from strategy and planning, to engagement and motivation, product design to sales.  Because is has the ripple effect beyond one measure, it is difficult to measure the exact return.  This is why lack of investment in people development is a buying mistake.
  6. It’s training.  I often hear that what businesses need is management training and they send them on a course and wonder why nothing has changed.  Training has it’s place, but isn’t often the right solution.  You can train people in processes, policies, and procedures.  You can train people to complete work and output in a certain way.  You can’t train Managers to Manage People, You can’t train people how to be part of a team.  If you want to change behaviours, attitudes, beliefs or cultures you need to invest in learning and development, not training.
  7. Safe and comfortable:  Often when we are in uncertainty we stick to what is safe and comfortable.  If you want big change and big results, often you need a solution that is different and bold.  Investing in the safe and comfortable solutions may not push your people to think differently, or won’t challenge them to form new habits or behaviours.  So as a leader we ask you to step into boldness and courage and choose a solution that stretches and challenges you too.
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