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What if you train them and they leave?
What if you don't train them and they stay?
May 2010
Several organization's are "on hold" when it comes to learning initiatives, particularly training for front line managers. This month's topic discusses the benefits of leadership development and why investing in it makes sense right now. In this month's video, I was fortunate enough to interview Danielle Morgan of MBK Senior Living about how leadership development is paying off at her organization in reduced turnover and better employee relations. Enjoy! 
All the best,



Last month we added a new feature to our Performance Pointer - a video version. So, if you prefer to see and hear our tips (and have access to YouTube) just click on the link to the left.
Leadership Development - Why Now?
A 2009 study done by Bersin & Associates revealed that only 37% of respondents rated their executive leadership as "excellent" and less than 20% of respondents rated front line supervisors as "excellent". Naturally, excellence in leadership is a prerequisite for inspiring teams, increasing employee engagement, providing coaching and mentoring, and delivering business results.    
Excellence in leadership is rare because so many leaders spend time running defense and managing from crisis to crisis; becoming blind to the fact that the abilities of their team members are Workinguntapped and languishing. 
Thus, managers complain about how the weight of the world falls on their lap and employees complain that their bosses are over-involved, controlling, and horde opportunities to shine in the organization.  Not surprisingly, leaders are frustrated and burned out at the same time team members are uninspired and underperforming.  
What Problems Can Strong Leadership Solve?
Low morale
Missed business goals
Poor customer service
Employee relations issues
Unclear communication of performance standards
Untimely performance reviews
A well developed leader communicates with his or her direct reports effectively, facilitates change initiatives successfully, solves problems collaboratively, uses humor to build morale, demonstrates empathy and remains optimistic even in tough business climates. Most leaders are not born knowing how to do these things; it is imperative that we provide learning and development solutions to impart this knowledge in executive, middle and front line management.
Cost Effective Ways to Do Leadership Development
Many organizations are facing limited budgets and/or no discretionary spending allowances for individual development plans. That does not mean that learning cannot happen. A small investment of time or engaging outside resources can yield several low cost solutions. For example:

  • Self development can be accomplished via reading books or articles pertinent to the leadership topic (how about creating a book club at work?).
  • There are several books on CD/video available via the local library that can be shown during a lunch and learn or for self-paced learning.
  • Web-based seminars are available on a variety of leadership topics and often at a low cost and without any travel required.
  • Instead of renting an off-site venue such as a hotel meeting room, consider renting a classroom at a local college that only offers classes in the evenings to working adults. They often have better amenities for training than a hotel and at a much lower cost.
  • Rather than buying pre-packaged, off-the-shelf training content from a training company, consider hiring an instructional designer to help you create your own customized curriculum which will be catered to your industry and culture for a lower overall cost.
  • Create an internal speaking circuit for ongoing learning opportunities. Invite executives to speak on their leadership philosophy or invite customers to share their experience with your organization.
  • Use professional coaching in lieu of classroom training. Learning can be highly individualized and is especially effective for developing Emotional Intelligence competencies. The cost of a professional coach per hour is comparable to a good attorney.
  • Consider the cost of not doing training at all - would eliminating one wrongful termination settlement, preventing one lost "key player", or preventing one bad hire save your company enough to pay for a leadership development program? In many ways, investing in learning and development pays for itself.
Leadership development now? You bet, now more than ever. Leaders today are challenged in ways like never before. Raising your leadership talent bar can take your organization to the next level, at the same time, increasing your workforce satisfaction and employee engagement.

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