Skillsoft Blog

Serve Up a Leadership Development Buffet

By Alicia Little


I love analogies. They give us the ability to explain concepts in ways that are relevant, memorable and directly applicable to situations we face every day.

What then, does leadership development have to do with an all-you-can-eat buffet? They offer a variety of items prepared in different ways to suit a kaleidoscope of appetites. You ‘eat’ as little or as much as you need or want at that time. You leave feeling satisfied and ready to take on life’s next challenge.  Here’s where the analogy breaks down – when you eat at a buffet you don’t gain any return on your investment and what you’ve consumed hasn’t necessarily been nutritious. Short of potentially tighter pants, your all-you-can-eat buffet experience is for short-term benefit.

Leadership development buffet?

As with all learning and development programs you want to have a goal(s) in mind: know what you are trying to accomplish and what the desired outcome will be.  What you offer at your buffet should be the perfect mix of resources that align to a) your goals, b) your learners (aka. your audience) and c) your environment, culture and resources. Offering a blended learning approach has a number of benefits:

  • Reduces scrap learning,
  • allows learners of varying styles to understand and apply the same concepts,
  • allows for flexibility in where, when and how the learning is achieved, and
  • increases engagement and participation through a variety of offerings.

Learning waste is greatly reduced when well-designed learning programs recognize learning occurs in formal, informal and social settings. Since most learning takes place outside the formal event, more learning and reinforcement must be embedded into the workflow. Well-designed and executed programs ensure your organization realizes significant gains in learning transfer and increased performance.

In order to successfully deliver the right training to the right people at the right time, blended learning programs must be designed under very specific guidelines, including support and guidance for learners as they move through each component of the program.


Let sound, measurable objectives guide your choice of delivery methods, while also considering participant demographics and knowledge levels, time to design and develop the program, budget, available technology and limitations. To maximize the results from any blended learning program, take a look at Skillsoft’s Eight Phases of Workplace Learning. Let these stages guide you in developing a training and learning program that both supports your organization’s goals and provides the best ROI.

Time to whet some appetites!

At this point, you may be thinking that this sounds like a large undertaking—but really, it comes down to three key items that you need to launch a blended-approach leadership development program:

  • a person to champion and own the initiative
  • an environment that encourages development and growth
  • a plan with clear and measurable goals

If you’d like to learn more about building a leadership development program that serves up maximum impact on your business with minimal budget impact, join our upcoming webinar on November 1 – Big Impact on a Small Budget: Optimizing Leadership Development with Blended LearningRegister today!

Grow your people by feeding their appetite to learn and improve, as this ultimately translates to growth for your organization. Build the buffet that keeps them coming back for more!


Alicia Little is a Marketing and Sales Support Associate at Skillsoft.

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