CEO/Directors training, why aren't you doing it? Do you know it all?

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CEO/Directors training, why aren’t you doing it? Do you know it all?

I recently met a very successful CEO on Holiday, part of a major Global business; he is close to retirement and just attended his first training course for over 10 years!! He asked why he should go and it was suggested he would add experience to the others. He really enjoyed it and learned. However what did he teach the others?

This is a common scenario, it appears, perversely, that once we become Directors/VP’s/ CEO’s we no longer need training or development? Or perhaps it’s that we can’t find time for training as we are so indispensable? Or is it that we are afraid we might get caught out or look stupid?

I had made a number of very successful exits when I decided to join one of the world’s biggest coaching businesses. With a number of highly successful CEO’s /Directors/ Entrepreneurs, we were an exceptional bunch. Over the next 2 years we attended 62 days of training. It was amazing how much stronger we all became, more rounded, with new ideas, frameworks and better skills.

Yet most senior managers struggle to take a few days out in any given year. When did you last take significant time out to learn?  And was this based on a plan or a whim?

If we accept that the key role of senior managers is to create value for the business, why is it we spend a tiny percentage of the training and development budget on this group. Yet we structure businesses to ensure from the day new people join they get lots of training. The essential must have basic training, the key skill for their jobs, the inductions [I hope!] then once they know the job we spend even more on enabling them to become supervisors, managers, team leaders, specialists. Then it effectively stops?

It can be assumed we believe the training and development function is essential to create a successful business?

Let’s think about Value creation. Undoubtedly a strong organisation, innovation, talent and culture add to the value. However in reality it’s the senior team that make the decisions, take the risks and shape the Purpose of the  business to create real value, yet so many of them are simply falling behind. It can be said, we are now seeing a few brilliant organisations where value creation is effective across the organisation yet right now these are the minority.

With my friend I met on holiday he simply didn’t understand younger people/ millennials or what we are learning about behaviour. We had a fascinating discussion.

So what percentage of your training and development budget is spent on your senior team? More importantly perhaps you should have a hard think about where you need to strengthen that team and for what reasons. Developing your senior team should be a key metric for the Board.

The solution is not just training programmes and conferences; more than 80% of CEO’s will consider a Coach and at this level with a group who should have good skills that’s a good start. However get yourself a coach and development plan designed to fit your personal needs and the needs of your job and responsibilities. 

It might not be what you think and who has the skills and courage to tell you?

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About the author

Graham Wilson

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My working life has always involved working closely with people and delivering results. For nearly 30 years I have run behaviour programmes and been involved with many other methods of working with and analysing personality, performance and behaviour. Having enjoyed significant business success I believe that if we first build the people the people will build the business. Which in no way reduces the focus on clear business strategy and purpose. As a result I've already helped 11 people become Millionaires. 

So what do I do?... I inspire transformation

 A brief history 

35 years in healthcare Services. Pharma, Med devices, Med Tech and the Care sector Key player in building the worlds biggest Pharma services business Innovex/Quintiles, driving consistent growth from 30- 60% per annum. From the UK to the USA and Europe

Chaired 6 businesses and been on 11 Boards from £300m to start up. Raised funds and driven successful exits. 

Qualified as a Coach with Shirlaws the leading Global Coaching business. Still running and developing behaviour programmes. A Qualified Clinical Hypnotherapist. 

I own and run a Care business and am also a Non Exec Director of 2 companies involved in leading edge marketing support, such as Word of Mouth marketing I Coach a wide range of clients in multiple sectors. Understand the numbers, believe its strategy and people that make it all work. Have a look at my profile for full details and links


Steve Woods
Very good article Graham.
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