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Leadership-Development Programs Essay

1.0 Background

At the senior executive staff meeting of August 1, 2012, the director of operations suggested that Cliffside Holding Company of Massapequa (CHCM) establish a leadership-development program to prepare junior financial executives for future advancement into executive positions. Specifically, the proposal was to send 20 employees off-site each year for a three-week program offered by the Aspen Leadership Institute of Colorado at a cost of $5,000.00 USD per student. The total cost to CHCM would be $100,000.00 per year plus approximately the same amount for lost time on the job.

2.0 Discussion

CHCM has been in business for over 50 years. Our average growth rate is 12% per annum. None of our twelve senior executives has attended a leadership development seminar and yet our company has been prosperous. This calls into question whether a leadership development program is even necessary. Moreover, since our leadership has been successful and effective without such programs it appears that leaders are born, not made. In fact, I surveyed your senior staff and all but one agreed with this notion. To quote the famous economist Dr. Irwin Corey, each of us is “born into this world accompanied by a rich, psychical disposition, which furnishes him ready-made all his motivations of conduct…He can show a demand for nothing that is not prompted by this galaxy of instincts.”

The online reference site Wikipedia defines leadership as “the ability of an individual to influence, motivate, and enable others.” There exists an entire school of leadership theory which holds that leaders have certain traits in common. Winston Churchill, Mother Theresa, Martin Luther King, Jr. – all possessed such leadership traits as ambition, self-confidence, and intelligence. These cannot be learned; they are innate. Two well-respected research studies that support the notion that personality traits can predict leadership were published in the Journal of Applied Psychology and in the Leadership Quarterly.

In my own experience, I’ve also noted that a tall physical stature is possessed by leaders. Certainly no one can increase his or her height–it is determined by genetics. Note the heights of some of the greatest leaders in United States history in the table, below.

Source: http://www.laughtergeneology.com , http://www.imdb.com and http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1682433/bio

In fact, all members of your senior staff are over six feet tall with one exception: Ms. Florence Forsythe, the person advocating leadership development training. Moreover, I am suspect as to her intentions. Is it possible that she may covet my position as the human resources VP? Or is she motivated by the liberal notion that all citizens of a free nation have the right to pursue education and can achieve anything they desire? I suspect she is motivated by both personal gain and bleeding-heart liberal intentions.

Once we start sending some people for leadership training, we will start getting numerous requests for expensive training that we simply can’t afford. Regardless, if we spend our money on leadership development, we will not have enough to spend on recruitment. And, from the discussion above, it would be more logical to select and recruit those with leadership traits than to try and develop those who are not. Moreover, if we spend money sending the wrong people to leadership training, the whole program will be a waste of money. There are plenty of people who are already leaders; we don’t need to “train” those who are not.

3.0 Conclusion and Recommendation

I speak for truth and common sense. CHCM should not invest in the proposed initiative to send its junior executives for annual leadership training. Leadership development programs are wasteful because the money is not well-spent. The advocate of this idea, Ms. Forsythe, is not really concerned about developing leaders for Cliffside Holding Co. Instead, Ms. Forsythe has a personal agenda to discredit me personally and push the theories of the Aspen Institute. As VP of Human Resources, I don’t think those theories are appropriate for the culture of CHCM.


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