The new approach to Leadership Development and Return on Investment.


When developing leadership we talk extensively about changing culture and mind-sets. We know that the greatest leaders have the ability to change the way people think, not just for a day or for a week, but forever.

Talking to business leaders about the challenges they face around leadership development the conversation often returns to the question of earning a positive return on their investment.

The problem is that most of them do not really view their spending on leadership development as in investment.  From their perspective it is a risk spending money on managers. Sure, people change for a week or two after the programme, but the grind of the working world slowly pushes them back to where they started.  Senior executives are right when they ask, where’s the return on investment?

We suggest talking a step back and beginning any project in leadership development in the same way one would view a capital investment. Take a long-term approach, focus on where and when return will be delivered, and be specific about your assumptions.

We know that the alternatives have never worked. The two most common are; the Shoestring, this is when a company hires someone and expects that they will do everything for very little budget beyond their salary; and the False Economist, this is the practice of developing a budget, expensing it and dividing the total cost by the number of managers going through the training process – i.e. reporting the spend as $X per manager. Neither of these approaches will ever produce an ROI because they place the sponsoring senior managers in a “minimise the risk” mind-set instead of a genuine “ROI mind-set.”

This is why there is a need for STEEL.

To find out more email us at


About Tim Taylor

Expert in leadership development, excellent leadership capabilities, strategic thinker, and ability for developing high potential managers. An effective Leader of Global Learning and Development projects. Partners effectively with senior executives in delivering Leadership programs and processes that support organizational strategies and deliver a positive return on investment. Led international teams of Organization Development professionals since 1993, working on projects for Coca-Cola, Smurfit corporation, Dell, Prudential, Thomson Reuters, CAT, & many other medium sized organisations.

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One thought on “STEEL

  • Stefan

    It is sexist to say that characteristics like assertiveness, confidence, boldness and aggression are quintessentially male.
    The reason successful women display these qualities in a business setting is because these attributes are demanded of anyone, male or female, who wishes to succeed. There are plenty of effete, passive men who can’t hack the cutthroat nature of the business world. And as for the trousers, there are men in business who would look at a woman’s breasts and legs before they listen to her speak (no surprise there!). The trousers preclude this from happening, and display the requisite seriousness.