March 28


The Difference Between Training and Development

TD 1The Center for Creative Leadership has been studying the development of leaders for over 30 years, which qualifies them to say a thing or two about how to get from A to Z in the pursuit of your own leadership zenith. One consistent topic is the identification of the various types of learning experiences and what constitutes the proper blend.  The Center’s model formula is based on a 70-20-10 model that suggests while experiences dominate the leadership evolution, there is a place for the self-paced personal discovery mode. Not surprising, the majority of learning experiences for a leader come from the informal realm of daily challenges in assignments, including mistakes, ethical questions that abound, and my favorite, horizontal moves. As I have said before, leaders challenge themselves with new experiences, accept being in a learning mode, and avoid a rigid adherence to the familiar.

The CCL distinguishes the challenge of on-the-job learning from the mentor process in which developing leaders network, get coached, participate in communities, and generally identify early on a source of guidance, and when necessary, inspiration. Training in hard skills, in a formal setting, makes up a small portion of the leadership library but it is a critical component and neglected at your peril. Heading to the classroom with an open mind, keeping your eyes open for the newest research or publications, and remaining comfortable with the technology of e-learning provide a leavening of what you get on a daily basis from your peers, bosses, and troops.image

The process of “development” is not meant to be a substitute for the formal training available to leaders. As Dan McCarthy notes, attempting to progress without an investment in some good old-fashioned didactic method, leads to winging it.  Winging it in a leadership role can get messy.  These are people’s lives, and organizational futures that you hold in your hand and winging it instead of making a constructive attempt to learn something is sloppy.  Do your homework when you should.

The difference between training and development can be referred to as the difference between today and tomorrow.  Training is preparation for doing today’s job.  You need to know it.  Competence is the mark of a leader so it is one of your primary responsibilities.  Development is preparation for tomorrow.  Or, the future.  Leaders are also keeping an eye on the future and preparing themselves to lead not only today’s mission but tomorrow’s as well. Jobs get done today, and results come tomorrow.image

Training and development are meant to be a partnership and a process, not an event.  Properly energized, the classroom, virtual or otherwise, makes up a small portion of the overall educational process. However, all good leaders challenge what they think they know, or what they are told, and remain connected to the discipline of leadership. This  ensures a proper (and continual) balance between student and teacher.