Learning Leadership

In the Human Equation (1998), Jeffery Pfeffer notes that Japanese production plants provide 700% more training on first year new hires than their U.S. counterparts. After that, they provide more than twice the amount. And that training is not just about specialist skills, but also the type you will find in leadership programs, such as general competence and organizational culture. The point he brings out is that they normally plan on keeping their people longer, thus it makes more sense in developing them.

Laurie Bassi (2004) makes a similar case with her research that shows that U.S. firms that invest more in training outperform their counterparts in the stock market. And while the direction of casualty is hard to prove, she believes her data points to the training causing the performance, not the stock performance leading to more training, e.g. they were providing the extra training before their stock rose.

And even the workers demand more training when they have the clout to do so. When programmers were in heavy demand during the Y2K problem, many were demanding at least 80 hours of training per year, not only in new programming skills, but also in leadership skills. Our education system also recognizes the need for leadership as major MBA schools across America have incorporated a leadership class into their requirements for graduation.