American companies spend nearly $14 billion every year on leadership training, according to a report issued in 2012 by Deloitte.
But how effective is this leadership training? Not very, say experts who point out that adult learners in lecture settings forget more than half of what they’re taught within a week.
This is a trend the Center for Respectful Leadership hopes to reverse. The Center, which was launched by bestselling author Gregg Ward in 2019, relies upon dynamic experiential learning methods to impart its management messages.
Experiential Learning in Action
Gregg Ward first developed his experiential learning model during the 1980s while he was working as a consultant to New York City’s Police Department. In the 80s, the NYPD was facing a crisis of confidence; allegations of misconduct and corruption were at an all-time high. Gregg Ward was tapped to lead a series of workshops that aimed to help change the NYPD’s internal culture of distrust and defensiveness.
To accomplish this, Gregg drew upon the live theater training that had prepared him to become a successful actor, writer and director on the Big Apple’s stage circuit. He cast actors from among the police officers’ ranks and helped them recreate the characters they encountered every day on their beat.
Once the officers got inside the heads of these addicts, homeless folk and runaways, the officers began to empathize with these people’s plight. This type of learning experience was infinitely more helpful than sitting in a room, listening to a lecture and watching statistical slideshows.
The Center for Respectful Leadership
In the 30-plus years since then, Gregg Ward has participated in more than 2,500 training programs, workshops and talks for companies, nonprofits and government agencies throughout the U.S. and western Europe. He’s appeared on numerous radio and television programs, and authored two bestselling books.
Throughout this time, Gregg’s message has remained consistent. Mutual respect is the key driver not only of good working relationships but also of performance and productivity.
“There is a widespread misconception in the business arena that tough leadership and ultimatums are the go-to methods when things get tough. It’s imperative for leaders to understand that ‘culture eats strategy for breakfast,’ and if they tolerate or contribute to a toxic work environment, no matter how brilliant the product or idea, the chances of overall success are significantly reduced,” notes Gregg. “We are here to show that, in fact, a purposeful attitude of appreciation and respectful leadership will help challenged companies turn their ship around, retain staff, and boost productivity.
In an effort to make his insights accessible to a wider audience, in 2019, Gregg Ward convened a group of experts who are similarly focused upon building better business communities. The Center for Respectful Leadership invites all change-makers to join them as they begin to transform the American workplace through the development of respectful organizational cultures.