The Business Case For Leadership Development & Learning

October 3, 2017 by

business case for Leadership Development
– Albert Einstein

It is not uncommon for Chief Learning Officers (CLOs) to struggle trying to secure funds and commitment for leadership development programs, despite the value that organizations see from such programs. I’ve been surprised and disappointed to read so many recent articles that assail the value of these programs versus the amount of money spent on them, including a Wall Street Journal article entitled “So much training, so little to show for it,” and a 2016 Harvard Business Review article calling leadership development programs “the great train robbery.” In reality, nothing could be further from the truth. This blog is written to specifically arm you with the cold hard facts illuminating the business case for leadership development programs.

A 2015 joint study by The Conference Board and Development Dimensions International (DDI), found that CEOs of global companies ranked leadership development efforts as one of their top five human capital strategies. In addition, the study highlighted that 82% of the people reporting to a manager who had been through leadership development training witnessed that manager’s positive behavioral changes. Improvements included leadership skills such as performance management, managing conflict, fairness, communication, building trust, influencing, and leading change. Further, 81% of those reporting to recently-trained managers said they were more engaged in their jobs.

Here are some other very compelling and scientific metrics from the same study that prove the incredible value of leadership development and learning, all from the organizations that reported post-training changes in leadership behaviors:

– 114% higher sales
– 71% higher customer satisfaction
– 42% better operational efficiency
– 48% more product/work quality
– 300% additional business referrals
– 233% extra cross-selling
– 36% higher productivity
– 90% lower absenteeism
– 49% reduced overtime work/pay
– 105% less grievances
– 11% lower downtime
– 90% less rework
– 60% fewer workplace accidents
– 77% lower turnover

It goes without saying that when armed with these convincing statistics, any Chief Learning Officer should be able to secure both funding and commitment for future programs by showing the business case for leadership development.


Kevin Sheridan is an internationally-recognized Keynote Speaker, a New York Times Best Selling Author, and one of the most sought-after voices in the world on the topic of Employee Engagement. For five years running, he has been honored on Inc. Magazine’s top 100 Leadership Speakers in the world, as well as Inc.’s top 100 experts on Employee Engagement. He was also honored to be named to The Employee Engagement Award’s Top 101 Global Influencers on Employee Engagement of 2017.

Having spent thirty years as a high-level Human Capital Management consultant, Kevin has helped some of the world’s largest corporations rebuild a culture that fosters productive engagement, earning him several distinctive awards and honors. Kevin’s premier creation, PEER®, has been consistently recognized as a long-overdue, industry-changing innovation in the field of Employee Engagement. His first book, Building a Magnetic Culture, made six of the best seller lists including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today. He is also the author of The Virtual Manager, which explores how to most effectively manage remote workers.

Kevin received a Master of Business Administration from the Harvard Business School in 1988, concentrating his degree in Strategy, Human Resources Management, and Organizational Behavior. He is also a serial entrepreneur, having founded and sold three different companies.