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Why Aren’t Companies Developing the Next Generation?

September 23, 2022, 05:00 AM

I often find that companies have no idea where to start when it comes to the development of leaders and professionals. Additionally, decision-makers who have the authority to implement reskilling and upskilling are all over the board – VPs, HR, C-Level, etc. I’ve also found that a fair number of HR representatives don’t understand what development is or entails, and I think it’s important to educate around this topic. Ambiguity around development should not be a reason that you don’t move forward.

Additionally, there is often this underlying belief that someone in a leadership role knows what they are doing. This couldn't be further from the truth. In fact, over 60 percent of companies do not provide any leadership training or development. Most people haven’t had the benefit of experiencing a highly effective leader role model where they can witness and emulate highly effective behavior; the ripple/multiplier effect works both ways—for dysfunctional behavior as well as functional behavior. This leaves us with a lack of skills – it’s a training gap, not a skills gap.

Leadership Statistics in 2022

  • 77 percent of businesses report leadership is lacking.
  • Men are 13 percent more likely to get leadership training than women.
  • 20 percent of leaders find adjusting to the new team culture challenging.
  • Internal hires for leadership roles are 25 percent more successful than external hires.
  • One poor leader can cost a company about $126,000 a year.
  • Around 36 percent of Millennials and Gen Zers hold leadership roles.

For every year a company delays leadership development, it costs 7 percent of its total annual sales. When you couple that with the fact that leadership development is an essential piece of succession planning, you have a real problem. Succession planning is about identifying and developing individuals who are capable of assuming leadership roles when vacancies occur. It’s a strategic process that helps ensure an uninterrupted flow of talent and knowledge within an organization. Simply put, you need to be developing the next generation of leaders to have a sustainable business.

So why aren’t companies doing this? There are a few reasons:

  1. They do not know where to start.
  2. They do not have the budget.
  3. They do not think it is necessary.
  4. They think development is only for entry-level employees.

All these reasons are valid, but they can all be overcome. The first step is understanding what development looks like and how it can benefit your company as a whole.

Development is not one size fits all. It’s important to tailor programs to meet the needs of your organization and the individuals within it. There are a variety of methods that can be used for development, including:

  1. Classroom training
  2. E-learning
  3. Coaching via a group
  4. Mentoring Programs
  5. Job shadowing
  6. Action learning
  7. Assigned reading
  8. Simulations & exercises
  9. Webinars & podcasts

No matter which method you choose, the goal is always the same – to help individuals improve their performance and reach their full potential.
When done correctly, development has several benefits for both individuals and organizations, including:

  1. Improved communication & interpersonal skills
  2. Increased job satisfaction & engagement
  3. Greater team productivity
  4. Enhanced creativity & innovation
  5. Better decision-making
  6. Improved time management
  7. Increased sales & revenue
  8. Greater customer satisfaction
  9. Reduced turnover
  10. Improved succession planning

As you can see, development is an essential piece to any organization – it should not be overlooked or underestimated. If you are still not convinced, consider the cost of not investing in development. The cost of turnover alone is enough to make any organization think twice. According to the Center for American Progress, the cost of replacing just one employee can range from 16 percent to 213 percent of that employee’s annual salary.

The bottom line is this: if you want to have a sustainable business, you need to be investing in the development of your people. There is no way around it. Development may seem like a daunting task, but it does not have to be. Start small and build from there. The most important thing is that you get started.

If you would like to learn about a mentoring program specifically created for the Equipment Lease and Finance Association, please send me an email requesting information.

“A sign of a good leader is not how many followers you have but how many leaders you create.” – Mohatma Gandhi


  • Forbes: "Leadership Development Is a $366 Billion Industry: Here’s Why Most Programs Don’t Work."
  • What to Become – “33 Intriguing Leadership Statistics,” Accessed on Aug. 30, 2022.
RJ Grimshaw
President & CEO | UniFi Equipment Finance, Inc.
RJ Grimshaw is the President and CEO for UniFi Equipment Finance, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of the Bank of Ann Arbor. He joined Bank of Ann Arbor in August 2013 as an Executive Vice President and Chief Sales Officer. With more than 20 years of experience in the equipment finance/ banking industry, he brings valuable experience in commercial banking, investment banking, and business banking. Previously, he served as Vice President for Everbank Commercial Finance, Inc., where he was responsible for the growth within the Technology Division. Grimshaw currently sits on the ELFA Board of Directors and has previously served on the ELFA’s Vendor and Captive Business Council Steering Committee, as well participated in the past two Industry Future Councils with the ELFA Foundation.

He is a frequent author of blogs and articles in industry trade publications on digital innovation and leadership topics. Reach RJ at and on twitter @rjgcoach. Learn more about UniFi Equipment Finance at
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