Many HR industry experts have suggested regular leadership training as a strategy for retaining employees. Effective leadership training can make people stay with their current employers because it motivates participants to excel, explore their opportunities within the company and interact with their co-workers. Also, when companies invest in their employees’ personal and professional development, employees form a strong sense of loyalty and gratitude. However, conducting leadership training is one thing; executing effective results-oriented leadership training is another.

Needs Assessment is Central to Successful Training

One of the factors that lead to fruitful training programs is the needs assessment.A needs assessment is a tool to help organizations identify an individual’s pre-training knowledge, skills and attitude. The outcome of the assessment will help organizers determine if training is really necessary and to what extent. Specifically, it aims to do the following:

  1. Identify problems and issues within the company. A needs assessment usually focuses on a range of organizational issues, such as work practices, employee attitudes, management and leadership styles as well as company culture.
  2. Validate the need for training upper management. The results of the needs assessment will help high-level managers and HR specialists decide whether planning and implementing leadership training is imperative or not.
  3. Collect data that will help in measuring training effectiveness. The results of the needs assessment will guide organizers in developing training objectives. The assessment will also influence overall program design and implementation.
  4. Ensure that the benefits outweigh the costs. A needs assessment will provide companies with a ballpark figure of potential expenditure. By weighing the advantages of the training alongside the resources that will be used, organizers can determine feasibility and practicality.

A needs assessment can be likened to a medical diagnosis where the doctor identifies and examines symptoms of the ailing patient in order to prescribe the correct medication.

Gathering Data for Needs Assessment

The first step in needs assessment is identifying the intellectual, technical and behavioral needs of the would-be trainees. This can be done directly or indirectly. A direct assessment entails talking to the target participants, finding out what they need and determining the training approach that will suit them. Meanwhile, an indirect assessment entails discreet or subtle data gathering. The advantage of this method is that the information collected will be less biased.

Data should be analyzed immediately to identify leadership gaps. The analysis will also help organizers narrow the training focus, which in turn will allow target participants to master specific leadership competencies. The results of the needs assessment should be used not only in developing the leadership training program, but also in improving organizational protocols and processes.

Responding to the Needs

After analyzing assessment data, organizers can start developing the leadership training program. They now know the possible candidates for leadership training, what content should be highlighted in the modules, how the training should be designed and where it should be conducted, among others. During analysis, organizers may also encounter an array of issues that can be solved without having to conduct leadership training. Companies can also respond to leadership-related concerns through clarification of roles and responsibilities, transparency in communication and review of organizational policies.

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You Need to Understand your subject.

You don’t have to be an expert, just informed well enough to know the key points of what you are delivering. To put it simply, you should know what points are important and what you can consider secondary.

You also need good material. It must be accurate, up-to-date and easily explained.  Typically, the raw material for the training is given to us by subject matter experts for whom we are developing the training. However, this does not relieve you of the responsibility of understanding it. You have to do some research. You have to learn to break down the concepts in terms that you can understand so that you are sure you can pass it along.

Once you have gathered the research and reviewed the material given to you, it’s time to check your knowledge and time to review how you will break it out. Probably the best way to do this is by creating a storyboard. A storyboard is an outline of the material you intend to produce, typically done page by page. There are many different ways to create a storyboard, but perhaps the most common is a method that looks similar to a cartoon strip. Each box represents a slide, page or segment.

IntroductionTable of contents

Subject of course







Features and Functions



Some developers prefer cutouts so they can be easily reordered as needed.  The cutouts are then tacked to a cork board strip or tack-glued to a segment of poster board or Styrofoam. This is how the process gets its name.

The storyboard also functions as a way of reviewing the material with your client or the individual you are developing the content for.  Visualization helps many to get a clearer idea of what the project will look like when it’s finished. And…it’s always better to have an early review so that you and the client are sure you are on the same track.

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