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Open Your Leadership Resources for Everyone

Monday, June 10, 2019

Companies are spending billions of dollars every year to develop their current and future leaders. They are diving head-first into an industry inundated with content—courses, webinars, programs—all in search of the elusive promise of leadership success.

In a VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous) world characterized by nonstop technological advances, confusion, and complexity, it’s unsurprising that so much is being invested in leadership preparation.

Consider this:

  • Only 13 percent of current leaders have confidence in their rising leaders.
  • Only 7 percent of managers think their companies effectively develop global leaders.
  • Just 33 percent of managers reported improvement post-leadership training (HBR, 2018) while another 33 percent reported no positive effect post-leadership training (Avolio, et. Al 2009).

While leadership content is abundant, it’s not always sufficient. Businesses are repeatedly overpaying for the same content on a constant cycle. This model creates a cost barrier for many; further, it does not produce the long-lasting behavior change required for shaping future leaders.

It’s clear there is a discrepancy between the amount of L&D training available and the amount that will deliver a business’s desired result. At AchieveForum, we’d like to ease that gap a bit. It’s time to stop paying for content and start paying for results.

The State of L&D

Many L&D programs are still preaching the words of the Industrial Age. The rules-based system that sought to define a set of tried-and-true processes, skills, and decisions just doesn’t cut it anymore. The Digital Age has ushered in problems we’ve never faced, which calls for solutions we haven’t established. The name of the leadership game is behavior change and sustainability.


To start, businesses need dedicated training to actively change their work environments. Teams should work to create an entirely new environment that can support and foster their new behaviors. You cannot expect different results from the same setting.

Don’t substitute rules, formulas, or processes for judgment. An open-minded team and environment is necessary to make effective change. Swapping outdated formulas with judgment will render any behavior change or development training useless.

The team should be encouraged to learn from themselves, from their peers, and through emotion. Solutions are not always cut-and-dried. In times of crisis, the team should learn to take a step back and use rational thought to decide the necessary action. Encourage open conversations that bring forth all perspectives. This will allow your team to learn from each other, growing together as a unit and as individuals.

Of course, none of these shifts will yield results without reinforcement. The proposed “new way of doing things” will never stick if the team does not have the necessary tools to sustain it. It’s imperative to create an environment that supports new behaviors. In a supportive environment, all team members will feel more inclined to consistently use what they’ve learned and continue to grow from it.


Start Paying for Results

Our ATD 2019 booth and banners decried one common sentiment: stop paying for content. It’s a concept we rally around at AchieveForum and something we were excited to share with the thousands who attended this year’s conference. But what exactly does that mean?

We believe that everyone leads every day, and democratized access to the best leadership resources is necessary to ensure success in these moments. This is more than just a mission statement for us; we are 100 percent committed to making it a reality.

We’ve introduced Universal Access to start. This brand-new open-source model makes many of our best programs available to anyone free of charge. These leadership development courses include instructor-led classes, fully editable course materials, and supplemental documents to share with the team in any way you'd like. Cost should never be a barrier in the pursuit of leadership success.

Rather than create more and more programs, we’re focused on introducing innovative tools to foster leadership success for the long term. We need to follow the employee every step of the way, offering processes that ensure the individual is continually applying what they’ve learned. It's time for leaders to shift their focus from putting money into content to putting money into effective behavior change and sustainability.

Want to learn more? Contact us here.

About the Author

Scott Bohannon is chief executive officer of AchieveForum. Across Scott’s career, he has provided guidance to C-level executives at top global companies on issues including leadership development, HR & digital strategy, employee engagement, change management, finance, risk management, advocacy, corporate strategy, social media, and growth planning.

Before joining AchieveForum Scott was CEO of Info-Tech Research Group and McLean & Co. in Ontario, Canada. Prior to that, Scott was President of nsight2day, a company he founded in 2011 to help organizations better protect and engage customers, employees, and students through innovative technologies. From 1999 to 2011, Scott was General Manager and Executive Committee member at the Corporate Executive Board. He was also an attorney at Sidley Austin and an Instructor at the University of Virginia.

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