5 reasons why you should spend a week in leadership development training
By Bev Wise
Mastering Leadership Dynamics™, our flagship leadership development program for company owners and senior executives, is a deeply immersive five-day learning experience held at The Kelly S. King Center, which is the home of the BB&T Leadership Institute in Greensboro, North Carolina. When business leaders learn the course lasts an entire business week—from Monday through Friday—a common response is “I don’t know if I can be away from work that long.”
I understand that sentiment. But as I’ll explain in this post, five days isn’t that long to spend as Mastering Leadership Dynamics often causes a profound transformation that will last the rest of your professional career.
The most common feedback our facilitators hear from business leaders who have participated in Mastering Leadership Dynamics is, “This course has literally changed my life.”
Mastering Leadership Dynamics helps you discover who you are as a person and a leader. The individual and small group assignments lead you to understand how your beliefs about yourself, about work and about being a leader define your communication style, your relationships and the work environment for your employees.
Where does that self-examination lead? Why do we structure the program to last an entire week? Read on for a list of five points I hope will convince you the time invested is time well spent.
1. To produce a lasting impact, leadership development training must be an immersive experience.
You can learn leadership skills and strategies by listening to an 18-minute TED Talk or attending a training course in a hotel ballroom on a Saturday morning. Doing so will put air in your tires, but it won’t change the way you drive.
To understand your long-held beliefs and behaviors and how they affect you as a leader requires a meaningful investment of effort and time. That’s why Mastering Leadership Dynamics is an intensive, hands-on five-day program.
2. The higher you climb the corporate leader, the less likely you will receive honest feedback.
Every day, leaders walk into work wearing not just the clothes they picked out for that day, but a large “Boss” label plastered on their forehead. Not literally, but your employees see you that way. After all, their paychecks, performance reviews and perceptions of their own value in the workplace depends on what you think of them. Not surprisingly, many employees are reluctant to have open and honest conversations with you, let alone courageous conversations.
In Mastering Leadership Dynamics, we collect an anonymous 360-degree review from your team. We use this honest feedback to help you understand your beliefs and behaviors and how they affect your performance as a leader. We help you learn new strategies, particularly about improving how you communicate and how you build and nurture relationships, so you can be more effective.
3. Mastering Leadership Dynamics enables you to hit the “Reset” button, relax in a beautiful, retreat-like setting and gain valuable insights about yourself, your coworkers and your business.
At The BB&T Leadership Institute, we create a one-of-a-kind experience for executives. Not only will you be learning alongside a group of 10 or so executives who are at similar places and levels in their careers, but you'll be nestled in a comfortable retreat-like setting that was intentionally designed to foster the self-reflection and introspection needed to create a lasting impact. You’ll be able to unplug from your day-to-day routines and reflect on where you are today, where you'd like to be in the future, and how the skills and strategies that you're learning in Mastering Leadership Dynamics can help you understand and achieve your professional and business goals.
4. The skills you gain during Mastering Leadership Dynamics produces a measurable, outsized impact on your organization.
Our research at The BB&T Leadership Institute shows that executives are the most influential stakeholders in an organization. Also, your leadership at that high level of the organization has an enormous influence on the performance of your organization and on your company's success. So, the more you do to improve your leadership skills, the more that you are leveraging your ability for your company to be successful.
5. Your professional development is essential to your continued success as a leader.
The mindset that got you to where you are now probably isn’t the mindset that will help you get your organization to where it needs to be in the future. For instance, the type of problems you have today, whether internal problems or challenges in the marketplace, might not be solved by the level of thinking that created them.
To paraphrase executive coach Marshall Goldsmith, author of “What Got You Here Won’t Get You There”: Just because you’ve been successful does not mean you should not continue to develop yourself.
Convinced? Here are several ways to make that week away from your business go more smoothly:
- Select the right time. You want to pick a week that isn’t among your busiest or in which you would be sorely missed. If you’re a retail business, for instance, you don’t want to be away during the Christmas holiday season.
- Inform your colleagues and team. Block out the program dates in your calendar and let people know well in advance, so they can plan ahead.
- Designate who’s in command. Like vacations and other occasions in which you are away from work for an extended period, clearly identify who’s in charge during your absence.
- Unplug from your business. Mastering Leadership Dynamics is an involved, hands-on course. Your ability to plug in during it is limited, especially during the first three days. You’ll be busy with course-related activities and homework, even at night, so unplug as much as possible to realize the full benefits of the program.
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