Recently I read this statement in an HR group on Linkedin: “HR are the stewards of organisational culture.”

In many organisations this is true – “culture” has been delegated to HR. And if this is true, then as far as I can see the training industry, particularly around leadership and management, has not helped HR to create cultures that will support growth.

The rich years of the early 2000s are over. In 2008 the boom in financial services and commodities went spectacularly bust. Now we are looking for new high growth businesses to create jobs, revenue and security.

These high growth businesses will need the correct advice on how to create a common management culture that will support growth, and proper development that will do just that. What they have been served up to now has often been patchy and confused, and has contributed little of genuine use.

Much of the fault for this lies squarely at the door of the leadership and management training sector. This is my sector.

Every week managers tell me about the poor quality of the training their people have received in the past, or that they themselves have had to sit through long ago.

One manager commented on the long-term value of the work we had done with him and his people. “Usually,” he said, “they forget any training they have within 24 hours.”

Another senior manager described the management training his people had received before as “pitiful.”

It doesn’t have to be like this. Effective management practice can be the norm in any organisation. In any company, the MD can share the same idea about the role of managers as the person on the front line. They can share not only an idea about management, they can also share management practice: they can run meetings, appraisals, delegation, objective setting, performance reviews etc in a common style, simply varying it for their level of experience.

True leadership can be present: recognised by all, visible to all. Principles of operation, values and standards can exist not only in staff handbooks and as aspirational slogans on break-room walls, but also in the day to day behaviour of the people working in the business.

This will create the coherent, common management practice required for high growth businesses to grow, and for the economy to move forward.

What is our role in all this? To furnish HR executives with the real story about how leadership and management development works. To clear away the myths and hocus-pocus, and provide the straight talking from our side about how they can create strong, flexible management cultures that will do what they should: support innovation, growth, engagement, and everything else British business needs.

I’ll post a series of blogs over the next months to do just this. The first is “Leadership Description is not Leadership Development.” This tackles the growth of the leadership description industry, and how it has de-railed the actual development of true leadership skill.

Let’s tackle this together. If we are going to create clarity about our sector and bust the myths, what else would you like to see blogs about?

All the best


Mitchell Phoenix