“We have built a series of leadership development initiatives based on the expressed needs of our internal customers. We have also clearly defined the business outcomes per programme, so we know that we are ‘speaking the language of the business’. 

However, I am struggling to get managers to attend these events, despite speaking directly with their heads of functions. I would like to spend less time ‘marketing’ these events so that I can spend more time in development and deployment of programmes.”

– Corporate Training Deputy Director, Building Construction Materials


Clearly Communicate the Participant Benefits

Ask managers who have attended this programme in the past: what did you gain from attending, how has it positively affected your performance, and would you decide to attend again if the clock were turned back (was it worth it and why?).

Ask managers who have attended any of your programmes in the past: why were you attracted to that particular programme, what did you do to make your experience so successful? What did others do? If you could have three wishes to make our current programme offering more attractive, what would they be?

Make it exclusive

Make the sign up process more like a job interview, where only a few will get in. Open up the registration process to those who are considered on their way up the career ladder.

Make it tough to pass – by concrete attendance registration, maybe a test at the end, and an evaluation by the facilitator.

Have the programme accredited, either by external bodies or as internally recognised, career-value-added qualifications, ie “you can’t get this move or promotion unless you have certificate X.”

Engage high status stakeholders to take an active part in attending the programmes either as tutors with war stories or as learners themselves. The opportunity to network directly with high status folks is good for career visibility and makes it politically valuable. Or engage this elite group as mentors after the programme.”

Link Programmes to Positive Reward

Human beings with limited time and energy will not do something that does not offer a positive reward for the extra time and effort. Evaluate these managers not only for the numbers they produce (the “what”), but also for the way they manage their people to produce the numbers (the “how”).

Examine the Cost

Does your company’s culture and its cost budgeting/cost allocation system motivate the bosses to “pay” for their managers’ training, or is it seen as more important to keep the managers at their desks doing their day jobs?

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