At HFL we use the scary rule of thumb – based on hundreds of discussions with clients - that at least 50 per of all leadership programs don’t achieve their objectives. That is, individual sustainable behavioural change predicted at the beginning of the program doesn’t happen with most participants.
Instructional designers might tell you that this has everything to do with the design of the program. The evidence HFL has collected over the past two years challenges this view. Our programs are getting significantly more effective (i.e., landing behaviour change), and yet our design principles have remained very much the same.
We believe the difference is that we have developed and implemented accountability loops.
Accountability loops are a series of activities – implemented during and post program – that are designed to help program participants effectively deal with the five barriers to sustainable behavioural change in leaders. These barriers are things that very typically get in the way of a leader implementing changes in leadership behaviour back in the workplace post program.
These five barriers are:
• Time - no surprises here. Returning from a workshop, participants are sucked into the vortex of work – often having to immediately play catch up from the time they have been away.
• Lack of support – once the learning group is split up and returns to work, participants feel isolated. Lack of support can manifest in many ways – from their manager, from their HR business partner, from colleagues, from the team members they are trying to lead better.
• Staying the course –participants struggle to maintain direction and commitment to behaviour change objectives, and even the smallest set-back can erode confidence and in the end results.
• External factors – such as changes in market conditions, team make-up, manager, role – these distractions are often used as cast iron excuses for lack of development. And
• Change fatigue – most organisations we work with are undergoing change programs (or have been), and change in leadership behaviour or systems is yet another burden; participants and their teams simply run out of energy.
HFL has developed this list from detailed research undertaken with over 200 participants on our programs. Nothing on the list would surprise a seasoned learning and development professional. But how do we address the barriers effectively?
HFL has developed a process that keeps the participants, their managers, and their HR and L&D supporters on track, elevating program outcomes, and providing confidence and support to those making the change. Processes are designed to confront and defeat the five barriers in most individual cases. Customisable to any program or invention, and the logistics run by the HFL project team, these accountability loops make the difference.
We would be happy to share our methodology with existing and prospective clients. Contact us to arrange a briefing, and to see the research we have undertaken in this area