There is a stack of literature in front of me regarding the fiscal impact of employee training and professional development. Companies that slash their training budgets during economic slowdowns are penny pinching in exactly the wrong place, according to Penn State researchers. Development Dimensions International (DDI) provides the following data on the four-year return on investment (ROI) for leadership development initiatives: Caterpillar- 194%; Mattel, Inc.- 350%; AstraZenica- 685%; 7-Eleven, Inc.- 466%; University of Pittsburgh Medical Center- 450%; General Motors- 333%-- just to name a few. The average ROI for the 19 companies studied was 359%. Where else can you get a better deal? But among my behavioral health colleagues, there doesn't seem to be much consensus about leadership development. Some are going great guns with leadership academies and similar initiatives (look for a future blog on our program here at Cummins), but it's quite common to hear that "we've cut our training budget because the times are so hard." Well, the times have always been hard and they'll always BE hard, so maybe we should rethink the manner in which we invest in our people. I'll be back in mid-June for Part 2 on this topic.