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042: Leadership Development Return on Investment: For Organizations, Teams and You

Leadership Development Return on Investment Show Notes

Measuring the Return on Investment (ROI) in leadership training and development is considered to be an important element in Human Resources and beyond. The ROI of training and development is frequently a topic presented and discussed at conferences, workshops and professional associations. Journals and media regularly present the subject with more and more emphasis. Executives have come to expect ROI projections and estimates in requests for leadership training and development funding. Leadership educators now find that asking for Return on Investment information is common place. In this episode learn how to get over the ROI hump.

In this special episode we discuss the hump of Leadership Development Return on Investment that Paul submitted on the Fast Leader Website. Helping me address this hump is Dr. Pelé Ugboajah.

Dr. Pelé helps us to define leadership and discuss the ROI formula for organizations, teams and individuals. He also reveals a shocking statistic about the impacts of learning. He also shares what is a realistic timeline for developing better leadership skills and what you need to do to during that time.

Dr. Pelé also shares with us some of the issues that surround calculating return on investment and how you can come to grips on your situation and build better business cases to go beyond learning to developing.

Tweetable Quotes and Mentions

Get over the Leadership Development ROI hump on the @FastLeaderShow Click to Tweet

“Leadership is something that really needs to be addressed in organizations.“ Click to Tweet

“ROI on Leadership Development for one company is different for another.” Click to Tweet 

“What did we pay to develop leaders and what did we get out of it?” Click to Tweet 

“It is the intangible things that allow us to achieve those tangible things.” Click to Tweet 

“Behavior begets culture.” Click to Tweet 

“As behaviors change in organizations results also change.” Click to Tweet 

“What makes a good team has got to be analyzed and quantified.” Click to Tweet 

“The character of a team is reflective of the quality of the leader.” Click to Tweet 

“Bad leaders produce bad teams” Click to Tweet 

“Bad teams are symptomatic of bad leadership.” Click to Tweet 

“There are as many definitions for leadership as there are people on this planet.” Click to Tweet 

“Leadership is influence.” Click to Tweet 

“When a vision not being achieved that tells you something about leadership.” Click to Tweet 

“When no one is following, that tells you something about leadership.” Click to Tweet 

“Whatever we think we are doing today with respect to leadership development, is not working.” Click to Tweet 

“We have an industry called Learning and Development that only focuses on Learning.” Click to Tweet 

“Learning is the beginning, development takes time.” Click to Tweet 

“You don’t develop (leaders) in a classroom.” Click to Tweet 

“Leadership development does not happen in a classroom.” Click to Tweet 

“You learn by doing, over time.” Click to Tweet 

“I can be a leader only if the situation presents itself.” Click to Tweet 

“People should strive for leadership at all levels.” Click to Tweet 

“85% of success is from skills and attitudes, not knowledge.” Click to Tweet 

“People have to start” Click to Tweet 

“People have to practice leadership skills and attitudes.” Click to Tweet 

“You can boil down leadership into measurable and observable behaviors that people can practice.” Click to Tweet 

Hump to Get Over

Measuring the Return on Investment (ROI) in leadership training and development is considered to be an important element in Human Resources and beyond. The ROI of training and development is frequently a topic presented and discussed at conferences, workshops and professional associations. Journals and media regularly present the subject with more and more emphasis. Executives have come to expect ROI projections and estimates in requests for leadership training and development funding. Leadership educators now find that asking for Return on Investment information is common place. In this episode learn how to get over the ROI hump.

What is holding organizations back from building their leadership pipelines?

Cultures that don’t believe that leaders can be nurtured.

Many organizations have eliminated their middle leaders and are now starving for leaders; what should they do?

They should start turning everyone into a leader. People should strive for leadership at all levels.

What is one of the biggest mistakes you see orgs make when trying to develop leaders (identifying competencies?)

They don’t focus on specific, measurable behaviors.

What is the best advice to give for those that want to be better leaders?

They have to learn something about leadership, they have to practice that thing, and they’ve go to monitor the achievement of their results in a community of practice over time.

What is one of the secrets you believe that will contribute to developing leadership skills faster?

Practice. 85% of success is from skills and attitudes, not knowledge. People have to practice leadership skills and attitudes.

What do you feel is one the most misguided recommendations you hear experts give about developing leadership skills?

That leadership presence is unknown and intangible. That’s wrong. You can boil down leadership into measurable and observable behaviors that people can practice over time.

Imagine you were given the opportunity to change a tradition, system or belief that has hindered our ability to create more (and better) leaders over the past several decades. But you can’t totally wipe everything away, you can only choose one traditional, skill or belief to eliminate. So what would it be and why?

That leaders are only born; they are also nurtured and made over time.

Recommended Reading

Leadership development ROI Case Study

Additional Resources

70/20/10 Model

Return on Investment as a % = Program Benefits / Program Costs x 100

Show Transcript: 

[expand title=”Click to access edited transcript”]

042: Leadership Development Return on Investment: For Organizations, Teams and You

Intro: Welcome to the Fast Leader Podcast, where we explore convenient yet effective shortcuts that will help you get ahead and move forward faster by becoming a better leader. And now here’s your host, customer and employee engagement expert and certified emotional intelligence practitioner, Jim Rembach.

 

“Developing your company’s talent and leadership pipeline can be an overwhelming task but your burn is over with ResultPal you can use the power of practice to develop more leaders faster. Move onward and upward by going to resultpal.com/fast and getting a $750 performance package for free.”

 

Jim Rembach:    Okay, Fast Leader Legion today we have a special episode. We are going to address a question that was submitted on the Fast Leader website. We have a tab where any of you can submit a question and you never know it might show up and we’ll address that particular question. We have a special guest to talk with us about it. And today we have Pele Ugboajah that is going to help us with this, and we’ll give it to him in a second. But this particular question that we’re going to address today is really multifaceted, has a lot of different impacts that are both individual in nature, workgroup and team in nature as well as organization in nature because it gets down to the question of ROI. What is my ROI both as an individual, as part of a group, as part of an organization? And we’re going to focus in a little bit around leadership development. 

 

The particular question that was raised by Paul, and I play for you in a moment, was about maybe his individual ROI, we’ll address some of that coming up, think about ROI in a little bit different context and the reason we want to do that is because it is multifaceted, it is different for everyone and that’s will be part of our discussion is going to be like today. But any question that you have or any issue that you’re struggling with just go to the fastleader.net and click on the tab, what you struggling with, and leave us with a message.

 

So, now let’s listen to Paul:  

 “Hi. My name is Paul and I’m struggling as leader with getting return on investment. I endlessly put in more than I get back and I want that to change somehow.”

 

I’m sure that many of us including myself find times were doing just that, we feel like we’re struggling, we’re putting a lot in and not getting the things back there we’re desiring or what we want our objectives are not getting met and the performance that were trying to get just doesn’t occur. We’re going to talk about that particular issue of ROI and getting things back and focusing on leadership development. Helping us today is Dr. Pele Ugboajah, who’s a PhD in Organization and Management and has a specialization in Leadership. His dissertation and research focused on the effects of narrative on entrepreneurial leadership. And you may say, “Why are we having Dr. Pele for saying entrepreneurial leadership because I’m telling you today this concept and focus on entrepreneurial behavior, growth, and innovation is vital for us to not just thrive in today’s marketplace but just to survive.  Dr. Pele are you ready to help us get over the hump?

 

Pele Ugboajah:    I am ready. 

 

Jim Rembach:    Okay so now, normally we go through and we talk about the inspiration. We talk about leadership quotes. We talk about several things associated with what has helped us learn and grow as leaders of self and others on the show. But when you start thinking about this issue of leadership development and ROI, what do you think is some of the fuel and the driving passions behind people wanting to do anything associated with?

 

Pele Ugboajah:    Jim, thank you for that question. I think that your colors statement and the thing that he’s seeking clarity on, is really the evidence that we need that—leadership is something that really needs to be addressed in organizations. This is great evidence for the fact that at an individual level this particular leader is seeing the symptoms and the struggles of being a leader, and so I thank you for that. As far as what we see, we see exactly what’s happening to this individual. We find that this is what we call leadership effectiveness, not necessarily ROI unless one could argue that ROI at an individual level really is effectiveness.

So, this is something that we see a lot and as you lead me towards your question I’d be happy to talk about this one specifically. 

 

Jim Rembach:    Okay. Now, let’s stop for a moment and do just a quick explanation of what is ROI and how do you calculate it. And if you look at the simple explanation, what we do is we look at what benefits that we may get from any activity. Again, we’re going to focus in on leadership development and learning here on this episode. And talk about the benefits that we may get from that and we’re going to talk about a particular case study a little bit where the study that anybody can pull down, and it’s on leadership educators.org, and I’ll put a link on the show notes page so that you can get to this case study, where they looked at the return on investment and doing a managerial assessment of a proficiency program for the Georgia Extension System. For those that aren’t familiar with extension systems they have to do with the agricultural support for a state, their state run organizations and groups, I will make that available and they talk about, what was the investment of going to this leadership development program and what was the impact?

 

One of the things that they use as the program benefit was actually reducing turnover of people who were in their program and being the leaders in their program. The point being is that there’s a lot of ways that you can assess program benefits when you’re thinking about being a leader, developing leaders, and then you look at the cost of actually doing that, if you want to turn it in percentage you multiply it by 100 and that turns into percentage, so what it is, it’s program benefits provided by program cost multiplied by 100, and again we’ll put that on the show notes page. 

 

That’s a very simple explanation of what is ROI, and that’s ROI as a percentage. So Pele, when you think of an organization and you start looking at this ROI calculation, again we want to focus in on leadership development because you know I think you’re going to share with us some statistics associated with leadership development and the impact that it currently having you on and the world at a global scale. But if you were to think about an organization what are they looking at in regards to benefits, to go into the ROI calculation?

 

Pele Ugboajah:     Okay, so, for organizations, I suppose we have to look at whatever returns they were seeking when they put in leadership development program. It’s a very fluid and changing landscape. ROI for one person is going to be different for an ROI calculation for another person or individual or company. They say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, in some cases ROI is in the eye of the organization. A company has to say, really what is our cost benefit? You’re just doing analysis, why did we pay to develop leaders? And what did we get out of it? Some companies may not get money out it, it may not be about money it may just be about culture, it may be about temperament, it may be about how people feel when they come to work and in the morning on Monday. And so all of these things need to be somehow qualified or quantified to begin the judgment call on whether or not something is contributing toward ROI or not. I hope that answers your questions, it’s a very broad question. 

 

Jim Rembach:     It is. There’s one point for me that stood out that I oftentimes find something that can create some deeper level of understanding and insight. We often talk about leadership and the things associated with leadership, and again we’re talking about creating an environment by which a lot of the things that are supposedly intangible becoming very tangible. All of us have heard about doing time studies, right? How long does it take to do a particular piece of work or a task? The same thing applies when you start thinking about leadership and getting work done within an organization and so that can become quite tangible when you’re starting to talk culture. 

 

In today’s organization we have to work across many different functional groups. And guess what, if we have an issue with being able to work within those workgroups, with being able to—stepping up and being a leader within those workgroups and take responsibility when we have to, what’s going to happen to that work? It’s not going to get done very quickly and it’s going to create a lot of problems. We’re going to miss deadlines and I think—who of the Legion has been part of the project, a projects, when you look at your last 10 that you’ve been part of, and goodness knows, we know that work today is all just loaded with projects. How many met their deadline? And when they met their deadline, how do they meet their deadline? Oftentimes it’s coerce, ‘if you get this done by this time it’s going to mean X’ that’s not how we actually want to create a culture that’s going to thrive.

 

So, when you think about that tangible aspect of culture and being able to work within those workgroups that is something that we can calculate and sees a very impactful benefit to actually helping raise the level of leadership throughout the entire organization.  When you start thinking about tangible and intangible and some of the things that are associated with this calculation, is there something that stands out to the people missed very often that they need to consider?

 

Pele Ugboajah:     I think your point about tangible versus intangible is extremely valuable because we have a tendency to look toward what is tangible. We look at things like sales results, we look at how many customers required over a certain period time, but the funny thing is that it’s the intangible things that allow us to achieve those tangible things. And those intangible things are things like behavior. And behavior begets culture like one is a parent of the other. If you have a lot of behaviors that a lot of people ascribe to hence comes your culture. 

 

So, I think the core intangible, if you want to use that as a good descriptor, is behavior. What exactly is behavior, let’s get down to some definitions. Behavior is described amongst the academic behavioral community but really in terms of common sense, as whatever an individual does or says. Let me repeat that, whenever you do something that is measurable and observable or you say something, again, measurable and observable you have just behaved in a certain way. And so, our task really is to help our leaders, help our organizations get down to the granular level of seeing, understanding and measuring behavior so the people can improve those behaviors over time. So I think behaviors is that intangible you’re talking about. As behaviors change in organizations results also change.

 

Jim Rembach:     And I think that’s a great point. And also as you were talking I started thinking about at an organizational level some of those things that may seem hard to calculate but can be and a lot of things at an organizational level, we’re talking about brand impacts. When we start talking about missing those deadlines, it doesn’t necessarily impact the individuals or even the workgroup it could impact the brand and it really doesn’t matter if you’re in a B to B or in a B to C environment thinking about that overall brand impact in wanting to be associated with the company and not want to be associated with the company, those can be some very high  strategic level impacts that often can go into that actual calculation or that benefit of any type of development program an activity that you go about. 

 

So not at the team level. Let’s take it down a notch because every single one of us, unless we’re a solopreneur, are part of particular team or workgroup. So, we start thinking about a benefit associated with going through the leadership development process and improving leadership skills, that pipeline, and that bench strength of leadership. What are some of the things that come to mind when you start thinking of smaller workgroups?

 

Pele Ugboajah:     Well, I think you made a valid point about larger organizations having not only organizational culture and behavior to contend with in terms of measuring but also customer behavior and culture to find a way to understand because that’s the way you understand the impact of your  brand. It’s how your customers are behaving, again back to the behavior word, what are they doing and saying? Those same concept apply precisely in the same way that teams and organizations, teams within organizations. However, we can now begin to—because we’re talking about smaller teams, we can now begin to talk more specifically about leadership and leadership impact. Because it is very visual, we can see it happening—you come to a team meeting, if you are a fly on the wall in a team meeting you could literally see if you got good leadership happening in this particular team or not. 

 

It goes back to several formulas for what it takes to be a good team, things such as trust, things such as—the openness and willingness to challenge the status quo, transparency and so on, so, there’s some basic building blocks of what a team is and should be. When you see those things absent in a team that is your indicator that leadership is not happening and you can begin to use those as measurements for behavior to understand whether or not good leadership exists or not in a team. 

 

Jim Rembach:     I think that’s a really important point. For longest time I’ve been looking and focusing in on the works of Dr. Shea McConan and he talks about there’s seven key elements associated with those outcomes or those behaviors result in, and he talks about the importance of feeling valued,  conflict management, ownership, openness, motivation, feedback and difference management and those being the core pillars associated with being able to get that trust and that openness and getting work done faster knowing that somebody’s got your back and it also potentially rolling that up at an organization level. I think you and I were participating in a conversation the other day with a Chief Learning Officer of an organization, she was talking about this issue that she deals with in regards to this whole top down problem. And I mention the case study was a Harvard Business Review study, it was printed back in 1970, and it talks about why change programs—don’t change anything essentially. And it’s just that, it’s the top down piece pushing things down, starting at the very top and expecting them to have a long term value and impact to the organization as they get down, it just doesn’t happen. You get a short term blip but it’s not long term impacting and it’s just not sustainable. 

 

When you start thinking about the team, one of the things I see a lot of organizations do that as I’m learning more and more about this whole concept of motivation that could be a detriment. As a matter of fact, there’s one particular tool that I look at their demo on their solution and what they were essentially doing was creating an artificial coercive motivation so that these things can happen as far as getting results, right? When you start talking about teams and comparing their performance with one another at what point does it become unhealthy?

 

Pele Ugboajah:    That’s an important question and I think that’s why we have consultants because the better consultants you are the better you can make what is very potentially explosive into a very positive nice process. The rules are always the same, we have to understand if people trust each other. You’ve got to know whether or not this ability to address conflict, we need to know how committed people are. And all of these things such as avoiding accountability or some people who don’t focus on results but only focus on themselves, all of these pillars if you will of what makes a good team had got to be analyzed, quantified, qualified and use as a lens to understand whether or not you have a functional leadership in that team or not. Because in the end, the character of a team is very reflective almost on one-to-one level about the quality of a leader. Bad leaders produce bad teams. And bad teams are symptomatic of leadership.

 

Jim Rembach:    It’s funny you say that. I was actually in a tradeshow a couple weeks ago and overheard somebody talking about, “I wish I could get my team to do the things that I need them to do when I’m gone.” And I almost want to say, “Well, that is because you’re not a good leader.” But of course, I refrain from doing that but I think that’s kind of the old adage that goes to—what it is that happens when you’re not there? And I don’t know if it’s necessarily a situation where one individual as a leader can totally change the situation where there’s negative performance in that. It literally requires a collaborative effort. But creating the environment and using your learning and development opportunities to put in the behaviors that will enable you to do that is important. So, let’s focus on Paul. Now, when I shared with you Paul’s message you had a very different perspective than I did. Please share that with me?

 

 Pele Ugboajah:     My mind hearing of his message was that he was struggling personally as a leader. And he wanted advice on how he could increase his leadership effectiveness. Now, he did use the word, return on investment, like what he said was, “I’m putting much more in that I’m getting out, it’s something like that. So, he was talking about return on investment at an individual level. However, what he’s really struggling with is leadership effectiveness. One thing we need to definite in addition to all the other definitions we’ve talked about such as behavior and teams we need to define leadership, why? Because there are as many definitions for leadership as there are people on this planet. Let’s find one that we can at least work with. 

 

I would say, let me just propose one and see if you agree, I would say that the shortest way to describe it, leadership is influence. Leadership is your ability to influence others. You set a vision, you create an environment where others want to follow and achieve that vision. So, when a vision is not being achieved that tells you something about leadership, when no one is following that tells you something about leadership. As you say, if you’re taking a walk and you look behind you and there’s no one behind you all you’re doing is taking a walk, you’re not a leader. And so, I would say that for pulse specific situation he needs to do three things. 

 

Frist of all, he needs to recognize that he is a leader. He is a leader, however, he needs to nurture his leadership to the point that he desires it to be and to do that he has to learn something about leadership that is in line with his own personality and his own abilities and position. Then he has to practice those things he learn as tangible, measurable behaviors, and then he has to track his achievement process over time within a community of practice and may even preferably with a coach who is consistently focused on his development. So, if those three things that I think Paul needs to do. Learn some competencies and behaviors regarding leadership. Practice them in reality at your job and make sure that you are doing it within the context of a community of practice that can help you achieve your leadership goals.

 

 Jim Rembach:     I think those are three great pieces that we all could instill as part of our behaviors in trying to get greater effectiveness in whatever we do as far as leading his concern. And I think—Paul, thank you for your contribution, we love you and we hope this helps. But also when you start thinking about that ROI, going back to that calculation play, many of those things that you referred to of those three, there’s some investment required. And so, when you also start thinking about return associated with it, what I often see is that—Oh, gosh, and I’m  going to have this problem too is that we want them to be immediate, we want those returns now, we don’t want them yesterday. And oftentimes we somewhat are a little bit laggard in trying to get those returns, and it’s like, “Gosh, if I have just done this two year ago, or last month for that matter, I would have a different effect or different impact.

 

But when you start thinking about this timeline and you’ve studied this, the impacts, how long can somebody really expect impact to occur and get greater effectiveness? What’s realistic?

 

Pele Ugboajah:     First of all, let’s just start with agreeing and admitting to the research job there which says, essentially the 150+ billion dollars that are is spent each year, for example, in the US on training and development is almost universally wasted because 85% of it is gone. The return on investment is only about maybe 5% to 20%. Let’s just say 15% that is a terrible statistic and it is evident that whatever we think we’re doing today, with respect to leadership development is not working. So, let’s just start with that, how do you do it better? I think you point about taking more time and focusing on developing things where time is really well taken. For example, we have an industry called Learning and Development that only focuses on learning, that’s the problem.

 

 Learning is the beginning, development takes time. You don’t develop in a classroom. I have a saying that I don’t think I invented but I’ve certainly adopted it to myself and my name. You don’t learn to play soccer at a seminar—my name Pele to soccer player, okay. You can’t learn how to play soccer at a seminar, you’ve got to get outside of the seminar and you’ve got to practice soccer, you’ve got develop over time, so back to your question: What is a meaningful expectation in terms of time and leadership development? First thing I want to say is that,  leadership does not happen in the classroom there’s something called the 70/20/10 rule, which says that and this is based on research that we could put down on your links later on. But 10% of learning happens in the classroom, 20% happens outside the classroom while you talk to people within the community of practice and a whopping 70% of real learning happens in the field, outside of the classroom, after job, in the workplace. What that tells me and should tell everyone is that, you learn by doing overtime. 

 

Now, when I was an executive coach in a leadership development firm, we had coaching and leadership development happen over six months to a year. It is not something that happens in a week, a month, or even three months, why? Because you need time to really get the community of practice working together to help this individual this individual grow. You need time for the opportunity to happen. If want to practice my guitar, I can pick up my guitar anytime I want and just play it, but when you’re trying to practice leadership development it is situational. I can be a leader only if the situation presents itself.  

 

And so I have to actually seek out opportunities and hope and wait and look for and create opportunities to practice those behaviors. And to do that you have to spend some time in the workplace coming across those kinds of leadership situations. So, six months is a small but a good minimum, twelve months is even better. And that 12 months has to be structured, it has to be all about practice and feedback, or what we sometimes call, feedforward which means a more positive approach, more futuristic approach to, how do I get better, and it’s got to be something that is measured and recorded hopefully in a format or platform or tool that will allow you to see whether someone is getting better or not. 

 

Jim Rembach:     Dr. Pele, thanks so much for sharing your wisdom. Now, before we move on, let’s get a quick word from our sponsor. 

 

“Contributing to the annual $150 billion loss in training and development investments is downright demoralizing so raise your spirits and training ROI by increasing learning transfer with resultpal.com. Get over the hump now by going to resultpal.com/fast and getting a $750 performance package for free.” 

 

Alright here we go Fast leader listeners now it’s time for the—Hump Day Hoedown. Okay Dr. Pele, the Hump Day Hoedown is the part of our show where you give us good insights fast. So, I’m going to ask you several questions and your job is to give us robust yet rapid responses that are going to help us move onward and upward faster. Dr. Pele, are you ready to hoedown?

 

Pele Ugboajah:     I’m ready to hoedown. 

 

Jim Rembach:     Alright.   What do you think is holding organizations back from building their leadership pipelines?

 

Pele Ugboajah:     Cultures. Most organizations that you’re talking about have cultures that frankly don’t believe that leaders can be nurtured. They believe that leadership comes from nature only. And one could debate that all day, but the fact is a switch needs to go from, “We have leaders who are born that way” to “We have leaders who we can develop overtime. 

 

Jim Rembach:     Many organizations have eliminated their middle leaders and are now starving for leaders, what should they do?

 

Pele Ugboajah:     They should start turning everyone into a leader. Just because you’re title doesn’t say Vice President or Director, doesn’t mean you can be a leader in your specific team, group or situations, people should strive for leadership at all levels. 

 

 Jim Rembach:     What is one of the biggest mistakes do you see organizations make when trying to develop their leaders?

 

Pele Ugboajah:     They don’t focus on specific measurable behaviors. They focus on this high level pie in the sky descriptions of competencies and vision and not what people need to do on Monday morning when they get back to work. 

 

Jim Rembach:       What is the best advice to give for those who want to be better leaders?

 

Pele Ugboajah:     They have to learn something about leadership. They have to practice that thing about leadership and they’ve got to monitor the achievement of their results within the community of practice overtime. 

 

Jim Rembach:     What is one of the secrets you believe that will contribute to developing leadership skills faster?

 

Pele Ugboajah:     Practice, 85% of success is from skills and attitude not knowledge. People have to start practicing leadership skills and attitudes.

 

Jim Rembach:     What do you feel is one of the most misguided recommendations you hear experts give about developing leadership skills?

 

Pele Ugboajah:     First of all, this idea I think that things like leadership where executive presence are unknown and intangible. You only feel it when it’s there, that’s wrong. You can boil down leadership into measurable and behaviors that people can practice over time, and that’s that a misguided belief in the culture of our organizations. 

 

Jim Rembach:     Okay, Fast Leader Legion you can find links to the research that we sided in this episode and other bonus information from today’s show by going to fastleader.net/ ROI. Okay Dr. Blake this is my last Hump Day hoedown question: Imagine you were given the opportunity to change a tradition, system of belief that has hindered our ability to create more and better leaders for match we were given the opportunity to change a tradition system or belief that has hindered our ability to create more and better leaders over the past several decades. But you can’t change and wipe away every single thing. You can only choose one tradition, skill or belief so what would you change and why?

 

Pele Ugboajah:     I would change the belief that leaders are only born and I would suggest that leaders are also nurtured and made over time.

 

Jim Rembach:     Dr. Pele, thank you for sharing your knowledge and wisdom, can you share with the fast leader legion how can connect with you?

 

Pele Ugboajah:     You can connect with me by going to www.resultpal.com and I’m available to be contacted through there. And I look forward to any concepts that come my way, I’ll try to help as much as I can. 

 

Jim Rembach:    Thank you for sharing your knowledge and wisdom, the Fast Leader legion honors you and thanks you for helping us get over the hump. Woot! Woot!

 

Thank you for joining me on the Fast Leader show today. For recaps, links from every show, special offers and access to download and subscribe, if you haven’t already, head on over the fastleader.net so we can help you move onward and upward faster. 

 

 END OF AUDIO 

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015: Pele Ugboajah: Go ask your boss this

Pele Ugboajah Show Notes

Pele had a high-paying job with a fancy title but it wasn’t enough. He left that job for another with a bigger title and a bigger salary. After only after a year, the bigger job and salary was taken away when Pele was impacted by layoffs. He was left with nothing. So he went back to his previous boss, but he did not ask for his old job back, he asked him for something else. What his old boss told him has driven him to his biggest passion in life. Listen to Pele as he shares his story of perseverance, passion and behaviors.

Pele Ugboajah, PhD was born and raised in a war-torn African refugee village during the Biafra civil war. He was named after Pele of Brazil – the greatest soccer player on earth – whose influence was so great that it stopped that civil war for two days in 1967. Inspired by the myth of his namesake, Pele refused to believe that his own dreams were impossible. With nothing but the clothes on his back and a head full of passion, he overcame numerous obstacles and completed a journey from third world poverty to the highest reaches of the American dream.

Pele holds an MBA and a PhD in Organization and Management, with a specialization in leadership behavior. He is an avid software innovator, storyteller and musician, and has worked for many years in various executive and entrepreneurial roles. As a vice president of human resources, he managed and monitored HR budgets of $10 million, and as an executive coach, he sold leadership development experiences and learning technology solutions to Fortune 500 companies. Today, as a software entrepreneur, he has developed and delivered ResultPal, a practice-based performance management solution that helps organizations turn talent into results.

Through music, motivation, and mentoring software such as ResultPal, Pele passionately believes in the power technology has to change and improve organizational behavior. Just like his namesake from many years ago, he is on a mission to convince the world that individual, team, and organizational success comes from the willingness and ability to change and improve behavior, one person at a time.

Tweetable Quotes and Mentions

Check out @peleugboajah getting over the hump on @FastLeaderShow Click to Tweet

“Nothing really succeeds or fails unless behavior happens.” -Pele Ugboajah Click to Tweet

“If we can help people change their behavior for the better we can impact the world.“ -Pele Ugboajah Click to Tweet

“Behavior is invisible.” -Pele Ugboajah Click to Tweet

“Changing behavior comes down to getting down to small tiny chunks.” -Pele Ugboajah Click to Tweet

“Leadership is influence.” -Pele Ugboajah Click to Tweet

“We don’t nurture and develop people on a one-to-one level anymore.” -Pele Ugboajah Click to Tweet

“If we could help others be successful…in the end it creates a better world.” -Pele Ugboajah Click to Tweet

“Go ask your boss what are the three things I need to change.” -Pele Ugboajah Click to Tweet

“Everything you do creates a culture of success or failure.” -Pele Ugboajah Click to Tweet

“If you’re waiting of an end of the year performance review, forget it…they don’t work.” -Pele Ugboajah Click to Tweet

“You owe it to yourself to find a coach.” -Pele Ugboajah Click to Tweet

“The best success, comes not necessarily from a great coach, but from a great coachee.” -Pele Ugboajah Click to Tweet

Hump to Get Over

Pele had a high-paying job with a fancy title but it wasn’t enough. He left the company that nurtured him and gave him a good opportunity. In a year he had nothing. The bigger title and salary, that he left for was gone. The victim of a layoff, Pele returned to his old boss and was told three things. It took Pele several years to figure out just what his old boss was trying to do. Listen to Pele still work to get over that hump of many years ago and share what he has learn and what he is doing now.

Leadership Epiphany

We’ve got to help people understand where they, what they need to develop, and then coach them so they can get better over time.

Advice for others

Go ask your boss, what are the three things I need to change. And are you willing to help me change them right now.

Holding him back from being an even better leader

I need more people on my team.

Best Leadership Advice Received

Influence comes from helping others.

Secret to Success

You got to play something. Get away and get lost in playing something.

Best Resources in Business or Life

Google; you can find knowledge with the click of a button.

Recommended Reading

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change

Contacting Pele

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/peleugboajah

Twitter: https://twitter.com/peleugboajah

More Resources

54 Emotional Intelligence (EQ) Competencies List: Emotional Intelligence has proven to be the right kind of intelligence to have if you want to move onward and upward faster. Get your free list today.

Show Transcript: 

[expand title=”Click to access edited transcript”]

015: Pele Ugboajah: Go ask your boss this

 

Intro: Welcome to the Fast Leader Podcast, where we explore convenient yet effective shortcuts that will help you get ahead and move forward faster by becoming a better leader. And now here’s your host, customer and employee engagement expert and certified emotional intelligent practitioner, Jim Rembach.

Jim Rembach:   Okay, Fast Leader legion, you absolutely want to make sure that you go to iTunes and download and subscribe the Fast Leader Show because you’re going to want to rate this particular episode with the guest that I have for you today ‘cause he’s fantastic. Pele Ubgoajah was a PhD that was born and raised in a war-torn African village during the Biafra Civil War with nothing but the clothes in his back and a head full passion. He overcame numerous obstacles and completed a journey from the Third World poverty that he was born to the United States where he actually took advantage of his opportunities and now holds an MBA and a PhD in organization and management with a specialization in leadership behavior.

As a former Vice President of Human Resources, he managed and monitored HR budgets of several million dollars. He’s an avid software innovator, storyteller, and musician. He had worked for many years in various executive and entrepreneur roles. Today, he is a software entrepreneur and has developed and delivered a solution called ResultPal which is a practice based performance management solution that helps organizations turn talent into results. His mission is to convince the world that individual team and organizational success comes from the willingness and ability to change and improve behavior one person at a time. Pele lives in  Austin, Texas with his wife and three kids, E. G., O.B. and Aiket. Pele Ugboajah, are you ready to help us get over the hump? 

Pele Ugboajah:    I am  and ready, thank so much.

Jim Rembach:     You’re more than welcome and were excited to have you. Okay, so I’ve given our listeners an opportunity to learn a little bit about you, but we want to know what your passion is, could you share with us a little bit what’s driving you today?

Pele Ugboajah:     What’s driving me today is the desire to help change the world through behavior. I’m really passionate about the topic of behavior because nothing succeeds or fails unless behavior happens so if we can help people change their behavior for the better, we could impact the world.

Jim Rembach:    There’s so much depth in what you’re just saying in association with behavior and behavior change, behavior modification. What I was reading something recently that talked about changing behavior’s the most difficult thing that we could ever do. So, how does that come into play when you start talking about helping people do just that change behavior? 

Pele Ugboajah:     You’re right. It is difficult to change. The reason why changing behavior is so difficult is because behavior is—invisible. It is happening all the time and we just aren’t aware of it, we don’t stop to say: “Wait a second, I am behaving this way” or “I am behaving that way.” And to make matters worse when you add my behavior to your and to the behavior of a lot of people that share our community, that’s when you get culture. So, when a lot of us is behaving badly we end up with a company called Enron, where you got talented people and you have bad behavior, and it causes potentially they could have cost a global catastrophe of finance and failure. And so, my behavior, your behavior if we can just change it by focusing on it and making it less invisible, that’s when we create a success in our lives. 

Jim Rembach:    When you talk about that there’s one thing that came to mind when you mentioned Enron and the behavior piece, in that, there’s something in social science that talks about—when you think about mob mentality, mob behavior, that an IQ will drop by more than 50% and you start doing things because of the mob mentality that you otherwise didn’t do. So, when you start talking about Enron so you’re saying some of that mob behavior was in place and people’s IQ just dropped all over the place?

Pele Ugboajah:     Absolutely. And the interesting thing is when you look at leaders or really anyone in work or in life we are always exercising certain skills and these skills are what allow us to be successful. But behind these skills in order to get good on any of those skills, are there little subskills or actionable behaviors that we’ve got to get good at it. It’s like if you’re going to learn how to play the guitar, first you’ve got to know how to hold it, that’s a behavior. Them you’ve got to know another behavior and the behavior and so changing behavior, in order to avoid this problem of culture we’ve talked about, the Enron level, changing behavior comes down to getting really down to its small tiny chunks of behavior. Once we get down to those tiny chunks you can change them one tiny chunk at a time until we end up with a person who’s become a better leader, and so on and so forth. It’s a fascinating stuff to the science of behavior change.

Jim Rembach:  And talk about fascinating, for us in the Fast Leader Show, we really liked to focus in on things that inspire us in a lot of different ways and quotes, passages and things like that are something that we all find energy and power and have different and cause different behaviors, but is there a particular quote or leadership passage that drives you to help you be the person that you want to be?

Pele Ugboajah:     Absolutely. It’s three words, leadership is influence. If you’re influencing anyone, if no one’s following you or your ideas, you are not a leader. If you’re in a company and you title is Vice President and no one [inaudible5:55] what you say, no one agrees with you and no one is influenced by you, you’re not really a leader. And so, I think for me, the greatest three words about leadership are that leadership is actually influence. 

Jim Rembach:     Definitely for me I’ve had the opportunity go through some workshops and certification classes that help with that influence and persuasion piece, and for me it’s made a world of difference in a lot of different ways both personally and professionally. I talk about it a lot as being an expert for the Customer Experience Professionals Association and how that—persuasion and influence is important if you want to create a more human centric organization. In context, we’re talking about customer centric but it’s a critical and core component that we all can get some significant benefit from, if we improve our skills in that area. But I would say that for you, talking about history and where you are today, there had to be a lot of humps that you had to get over in order for you to be where you are today—you don’t have a family that, I know you cherish a lot and I’m sure cherishes you, can you share a story with us about a time where you’ve had to get over the hump so that will help us?

Pele Ugboajah:     I have a story that has never really left me. It’s something that I always measure my life against. I was a younger man in the corporation, I had fancy title, I was Director of Technical Marketing at this company and I got there not because I was great leader but because I had a boss who just promoted me. He’s the boss who once told me that leadership is influence, by the way, but one day out of fear or out just not knowing the terrain of the corporate world I was afraid to be in that company and I resigned to accept a position at a larger company. 

So, I basically left the company that had nurtured me and went and started somewhere new because I had bigger title, and more money and so on. After a year the bigger company that brought me on laid almost everybody off, and so I have nothing. I had climbed the corporate ladder, I’d achieved a whole bunch of things and now I had absolutely nothing. 

So, I went back to that boss of mine, and I asked him I said, “I know you’re not going to have me back the way I resigned probably hurt you a little bit, tell me what I can do to improve?” And he said, “Look, you’ve got three problems” and I never forget that, he said, “You struggle with loyalty?” “Yeah.” “You struggle with patience?” Again, “Dah” “And you struggle with teamwork.” And said, “If you could have just done those three things very well, you would still be here and you’d be whatever he thought I could have potentially been. And I thanked him for his help, but I really wish he would’ve told me that before I left, the very first time. 

And that’s the problem with leadership, we don’t develop and nurture people on a one-to-one level anymore. We could have easily sat me down and had that conversation and I would have stayed, I wouldn’t have been lost in my fears, but he didn’t do that. So now, I’m passionate and committed to providing tools and technologies that will help people identify the behaviors they need to change and improve on so that they can be successful where they are. That’s the hump I had to get over. [Laugh]

Jim Rembach:     And those are common ones but your story is the unique one, and thank you for sharing that with us. Now, if you were to talk about something that hit you as that opportunity to do something different within that story, and even he shared with you, can you remember when that really hit, was it at the moment he told you or did it came later?

Pele Ugboajah:     It came many year later when I realized that what he was trying to do was identify behaviors. But he didn’t identify those behaviors and he didn’t coach me he just allowed me to go do whatever I wanted to do. We’ve got to help people understand where they are, what they need to develop and then we’ve got to cause them and keep them accountable to those behaviors so that they can get better over time. I think that if we can help others to be successful where they are in end it creates a better corporation or world or family or whatever. And so, that’s really what my mission is now, if you will. 

Jim Rembach:     If you were to give  Fast Leader legion a piece of advice or two, what would it?

Pele Ugboajah:    I think—first of all I’d say this, but I would say, glass through boss. What are the three things I need to change? And are you willing to help me change them right now? Because if you’re not having that conversation, you’ll never really know what’s going. You’ve got to recognize that everything you do creates a culture of success or failure and some of us are lucky to hear about it sooner than later. 

If you’re waiting for an end of year review, performance review, forget it because everybody hates those things they don’t work. You need to go and understand in real-time what you need to do to become a better leader, a friend or whatever it is you need to succeed at, at the level of behaviors not just at theoretical level. Here’s what you’re going to do first, here’s what you’re going to do next in terms of the leadership behaviors in your life. 

Jim Rembach:     That’s very helpful. I can give you a scenario and we’d love to hear your thoughts on this because I know somebody personally, and I’m going to protect their name, who has not had a leader who will sit down and spend the time with them to do just. And if they were to go and ask them, they may not get any reply or answer and probably would just get some avoidance or something off-the-cuff that’s not really genuine and sincere, what if you don’t have that person that you can go to and ask those questions, what do you do?

Pele Ugboajah:     The interesting thing is—that’s why I develop my current product which you mentioned called ResultPal, because it helps to extend the activities of a coach or even when the coach is not there or when the manager is not there. So, if this individual can’t talk to their manager I would highly recommend that they get a coach. And when that coach is not physically available they should be tracking their behaviors in a tool-like ResultPal because if you don’t have that kind of visibility and accountability for your coach regarding the behaviors you’re implementing, you’re not going to do them quite as well to be quite honest. It’s like playing a musical instrument, we need coaches because coaches help us get better.

Jim Rembach:    You bring up a really important thing for me in regards to when I had a large staff that I was managing. I think it’s typical that I would have a pretty consistent amount of folks that would say: “What are you going to do to develop me?” And I would always have to throw it back and said, “How are you going to develop yourself?” I mean, there’s really two pieces to this pie here, Okay, here are the things that we sponsor or that we support as an organization and then here’s things that you have to do outside of that. And that what makes a holistic type of approach and benefit in regards to success when it comes to coaching in your development.  So, it’s not just know you, you, you, it’s also me, me, me from the perspective of I have to do something on my own as well, and be proactive with that. 

When you referred to coaching, a lot of organizations don’t offer coaching, would you recommend that somebody does not allow that to stop them from being coach and go out and find their own coach?

Pele Ugboajah:     I would, specially leaders, emerging leaders. You owe it to yourself to find a coach. Michael Jordan, Pele of Brazil, these are some of the best performers in their field and they all had coaches. There’s a lot of value to a coach but the thing about coaching is that, and you’re very correct it’s very well supported there’s research that shows that the best success comes not necessarily from a great coach but from a great coachee, it is the willingness of an individual to implement the behaviors that are recommended by a coach, that’s what makes the difference. When you’re implementing this behaviors even in the absence of the coach and you track the results and you can show what you doing, you really get success out of that. So, I would suggest that anyone, whether or not their managers are actively involved, seek out a mentor, seek out a coach, seek out someone and create an environment where you can interact with them even if they’re not going to be with you 100% of the time, at least there’s a soft [inaudible 15:07] because you know someone cares and someone’s watching.

 Jim Rembach:     Those are all great pieces of insight and information and hopefully many of the folks who’ve been on the fence and who are listeners will take a final leap and if they’re not being provided a coach, they go get one. Alright, so you talked a little bit about ResultPal, and tools and the mechanism and how you’re focusing on that now, what really excites you about where you are with the development of that solution?

Pele Ugboajah:     What excites me is, I think I’m on the bleeding edge of something here. Because there’s no industry yet, there’s no product yet for what I’m doing. There is no such thing as a BMS, Behavior Management System, it doesn’t exist in a corporate or in a leadership of business world. We have learning management systems, we’ve got contact and CRM systems, who is managing behavior? Nobody. So, ResultPal really wants to create a world in which we can define behaviors, we can manage them and use this tool to help people get better at ‘me’, as you said. 

Jim Rembach:     I have been in contact center space from many years and have seen a lot of different technologies come and go and I had an analyst tell me one time, “You should never try to create an industry that does not exist, it takes too much money.” [Laugh] So, how are you doing that?

Pele Ugboajah:     Luckily for me, the industry of behavior has been here since the very first person came out, wherever we came out from, behavior is something you’ve been trying to manage through religion, through politics through all kinds of mechanisms there’s nothing  new about behavior, modification or behavior change. But what we now have is we have technologies like mobile device, wearable technology, voice activation and listening systems, and where all these technologies come together you now have the ability to reproduce a coach when no coach is there. That’s really what’s exciting, it’s not an industry that’s being created, it’s a way of doing what we’ve always done through technology.

Jim Rembach:    Got it, thanks for the clarification. We wish you the very best Pele. Here we go Fast Leader listeners it’s time for the—Hump Day Hoedown. Okay Pele, the Hump Day Hoedown is the part of our show where you give us good insight fast. So, I’m going to ask you several questions and your job is to give us robust yet rapid responses that are going to help us move onward and upward faster. Pele are you ready to hoedown?

Pele Ugboajah:     I’m ready

Jim Rembach:     What do you think is holding you back from being a better leader today?

Pele Ugboajah:     Now is that me or anyone?

Jim Rembach:      You. 

Pele Ugboajah:     Me, okay. I need more people on my team.

Jim Rembach:      That’s insulting me back. 

Pele Ugboajah:     When you’re in a startup environment and your bootstrapper the biggest gift you can get is finding good people to join your team and I’m actively looking for those people. When we increase our strength by numbers we will be a much more effective team, and I will be a better leader as result. 

Jim Rembach:     What’s the best leadership advice you have ever received?

Pele Ugboajah:     Influence which is what I started out with in our conversation comes from helping others. It doesn’t come from demanding it, leadership is influence but you gain that when you help other people, it’s amazing how that works, but that’s the magic formula. 

Jim Rembach:     What is one of your secrets that you believe to your success?

Pele Ugboajah:     I play guitar, I play the piano, I write songs, I play soccer with my kids, you’ve got to play something, you’ve got to get out of this hard work environment and there’s a spiritual you go to, for me when I’m playing with my kids or my musical instrument, you can’t pay for it—it’s magic. So, if you can go there for a while, go away, get lost in playing, when you come back to work you become so much more powerful. 

Jim Rembach:     What do you feel is one of your best resources that helps you lead in business or life?

Pele Ugboajah:     Google. I know this is a plug for an African plea but I got to tell you. After I got my PhD and I spent all that money trying to get an education I realized I got more education by searching for stuff on Google. So I have to say, when we walked this earth, and at any point in time we can find knowledge with click of a button, that’s a resource. 

Jim Rembach:      For sure. I know there’s probably several but, if you could recommend one book that our listeners should read.

Pele Ugboajah:     Oh, boy, there are so many. I would say—I’m trying to come up with something smart here but I don’t think I’m thinking of one, I  would stick with “The Seven Habits, ” I always come back to that. Stephen Covey was just—he meant a lot to me, I met him once, and he’s one of those people that can inspired tears. So, if you could read that book again for the perspective of—this book is going to be around for years, it’s going to mean something to me for years, it’ll will do something for you, it’s a good book. 

Jim Rembach:     That definitely gives us a renewed vision into that particular book. Alright, we’re going to put link to that book and other bonus information from today’s show and you’ll be able to find that by going to fastleader.net/Pele Ugboajah. Just go to fastleader.net it [inaudible 20:50] and you’ll be able to find it. Alright Pele, this is my last Hump Day Hoedown question: Imagine you woke up tomorrow morning and you were 25 years old again. You were supposed to begin a new job as a manager of a team of people that is underperforming and disengaged but you have retained all of the wisdom and skill that you currently have. Your task is to turn the team around, you get up, you get ready, you head out to work, what do you do now?

Pele Ugboajah:     Oh, boy. I think the first thing I’ll do is I’ll call them and I’ll have all of them give a speech. What I mean by that is I’m not going to be the speaker, I’m not going to motivate, I want you to motivate the rest of us regarding how you are going to be great at your job, and how are you going to help us all succeed so much. There’s something magical that happens when you give other people the platform, when you’re not taking it for yourself, all of a sudden they become the implementers of behaviors. And that’s why I’m so passionate about creating a software tool like ResultPal that helps people implement behaviors, because when they’re the ones driving, they’re the ones succeeding. So, yes I get them all, put them on a soapbox and say where here to listen. 

Jim Rembach:     That’s awesome. It was an honor to spent time with you today, please share with the Fast Leader listeners how they can connect you?

Pele Ugboajah:     You could go to www.resultpal.com, I think that’s the best place to start.  I’m also on LinkedIn, and I believe you’re going to provide that link. 

Jim Rembach:     I absolutely will, it’ll be on our show notes page.  Pele, thank you for sharing your knowledge and wisdom the Fast Leader legion honors you and thanks you for helping us get over the hump. Woot Woot!

Thank you for joining me on the Fast Leader Show today. For recaps, links from every show special offers and access to download and subscribe, if you haven’t already, head on over the fast leader.net so we can help you move onward and upward faster.

 

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