Way back in 1996 there were 1,700 business books published in the USA. We can assume that many more than 1,700 business books will come out in 2013 – publishing figures go up every year, and now anybody can self-publish on platforms like Kindle.

Even if publishing remained static at the 1996 level of 1,700 a year, that would mean that by now there would be 28,900 different business titles in circulation in the US.

The North American training market was worth $104.3 billion in 2009. Over time, that figure is also likely to rise.

If you want to know anything about any aspect of leadership, management or strategy, you can find it out through the internet. Sites like this and this will set you up with materials to “teach” someone else how to be a better leader or manager. Wikipedia will fill in the background. People’s blogs are full of “tips” on how to do things. If you’re still in doubt, you can ask a Linkedin group.

We are drowning in a sea of knowledge about business.

So we must have the best managed, best lead, best motivated workforce in history, right? 

Research shows that 43% of UK managers rate their own line manager as ineffective. Nearly three quarters of all organizations in England reported a deficit in management and leadership skills in 2012. 

Anecdotally, about one in three of the meetings I have is with a company who have tried some management development in the past and it didn’t work.

What’s going wrong? 

Almost all leadership, management and strategy training – whether from books, videos, e-learning, seminars or anything else – teaches people how to talk about leadership, management and strategy.

The assumption is that if people can talk about management in an impressive way, they can also manage people in an impressive way.

Contrary to our deepest intuitions, this assumption is completely untrue. There is no link between knowing about management and being able to do it.

This is a post from Why Didn’t Our Training Program Work… and what can we do? – a free resource for businesses in growth 

Sean Lapham is Project Director at Mitchell Phoenix