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Thoughts About Improving Management Training and Development Programs

© Copyright Carter McNamara, MBA, PhD, Authenticity Consulting, LLC.

Management educators, writers and leaders all assert that leading and managing an organization will only get more complex and challenging in the future. Therefore, management development programs must evolve to become even more accessible and relevant. Look for these future enhancements to management training and development programs in universities, colleges and training centers.

Future management training and development programs will:

  1. Include more courses about methods of organization development.
    This topic will include understanding various typical problems that occur in organizations, how to diagnose them, the variety of interventions to solve the problems, evaluating the interventions and adjusting policies and procedures to avoid the problems in the future. (There’s a growing body of information in this regard.)
  2. Involve well beyond Fortune 500 companies when designing programs.
    Input to programs design will include leaders who are representative of a broad range of organizations, including small business and non-profit. These organizations are at the fore-front of commerce and progress in our society -- yet many cannot afford necessary means to leadership development.
  3. Pilot methods to make management development programs more accessible.
    For example, two introductory or foundation courses will be held at a lower tuition rate, rather than one highly abstract course at a higher rate. With wise use of adjuncts or community faculty (and there are many available), two courses need not cost twice as much as one.
  4. Keep experienced-based expertise to complement academic knowledge.
    Use of adjuncts or community faculty bring in experienced-based perspective that strongly complements academic expertise, resulting in meaningful courses which remain state-of-the-art, yet grounded in the day-to-day realities of running an organization. Word quickly spreads among learners about truly meaningful courses, which, in turn, provokes strong demand for the courses along with long-lasting stature and credibility for the school.
  5. Go beyond theory and competencies-based models to pilot more ongoing, process-oriented and reflective approaches.
    These approaches reflect the realities of running an organization while developing the reflective skills to “learn how to learn.” They spawn the dialogue necessary to retain any sense of meaning in today’s chaotic and complex world of management. They also spawn the support necessary for learners to actually apply what they learn.
  6. Exploit the leverage in leadership development to be gained from piloting self-organized groups of learners.
    These groups provide highly accessible means to ongoing support, complex problem solving and continuous learning. These groups can be spawned at low-cost and produce a high volume of “grassroots” development “courses” where leaders are taught how to help each other. These groups can complement traditional classroom-based training methods; they need not replace them.
  7. Pilot means to address increasing burnout and cynicism in leaders.
    Management development does not occur in a safe vacuum devoid of the challenges of self-management. Burnout and cynicism are not addressed through intellectual rigor -- addressing both requires highly accessible and ongoing forums for venting, dialogue and exchange.
  8. Develop evaluation methods to be based more on indicators of effectiveness in learners’ organizations and less on learners’ reactions to courses.
    Learners are increasingly skeptical of the explosion of seminars and workshops that promise a great deal, but leave their students temporarily feeling good. Learners, trainers and developers need a great deal of help now to learn how to separate style from substance.
  9. Recognize the value of ongoing support to learners and leaders.
    Particularly in today's rapidly changing world, it can be tremendously stressful to lead or manage an organization. In these times of stress, it's often quite difficult to intellectually grasp a vast array of intellectual information, store it away for later reference, know when to retrieve it and then readily apply it to the current major challenge in the workplace. A strong foundation of ongoing support can help learners and leaders to keep an open mind to new information, explore various new values and viewpoints, and then have the courage to apply this new information in the workplace. This strong foundation of ongoing support is every bit as much a piece of training and development as is a new binder of new information in a course.

Learn More in the Library's Blogs Related to Management Development

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Library's Career Management Blog
Library's Human Resources Blog
Library's Leadership Blog
Library's Supervision Blog
Library's Training and Development Blog

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