How $12,000 Turned Into $1,200,000

Leadership development is one of the highest levers a company has to improve business performance. There is a 38% probability that increasing leadership effectiveness will translate into higher business performance¹. Few other investments in companies can provide such lift potential.

 ​​Leadership development is one of the highest levers a company has to improve business performance. Few other investments in companies can provide such lift potential. | Chandler CoachesThe following true story shows how one VP’s leadership development led directly to $1,200,000 in additional revenue. Soon after we engaged in leadership development work with a manufacturing company, Allen, a sales VP, was dealing with an angry customer whose order was delayed. He got a simple no from the production manager when he tried to get his customer’s order bumped up. In the name of pleasing the customer, Allen did an end run at their company’s plant and got the production and delivery moved up.

Things ended well with the customer and Allen felt he had showed good leadership. However, his 360˚ leadership assessment with us, showed a different picture. Allen saw himself as a self-confident, go-getter (seemingly good qualities for a leader to have.) His peers and direct reports perceived him as arrogant and overly ambitious– only out for himself.

We credit Allen for having the humility to accept the conclusions of his 360˚ assessment. Some leaders rationalize the feedback away. Allen took it to heart. And while it affected him significantly, it was the wake-up call he needed to recast his leadership development efforts. He started focusing on becoming a humble leader who focusses on the business and people first and foremost. He shared his goal through conversations. And more importantly, he apologized for past actions. His apology tour demonstrated his humility and helped him build a new foundation upon which he could build trust.

With the production manager, Allen owned his contribution to the end run incident. It was not easy and required some intestinal fortitude (guts). This conversation opened the doorway for even more feedback. It was candid and therapeutic for both Allen and the production manager.

Fast Forward a couple of months. A similar issue cropped up with a different customer. In this case, the late delivery of product was jeopardizing a $1.2 M sale of additional equipment. This time, Allen invited the production manager to his dilemma. The production manager pulled in a few engineers in an impromptu meeting. After twenty minutes of discussion with the whole team, they came up with an innovative solution to deliver on time. The production manager would not have had the goodwill to help had Allen not faced the reality on his leadership ineffectiveness previously.

Here’s the math: A $10-12K investment in leadership development (the cost for Allen to participate in one of our programs), plus some elbow grease and commitment from Allen has so far added an additional $1,200,000 revenue for the company. Any smart business person would take that return on investment any day.

Leadership development matters. Are you willing to do what it takes for you and your company to lead more effectively? We can help.

Tim Edris of Emerging Leaders Institute and Lisa Chandler of Chandler Coaches are leadership development consultants/coaches whose companies collaborate to improve leadership effectiveness to drive business results.

“Leadership Development in the Trenches” is a series dedicated to examples of leadership actions that grow business effectiveness. You can read the previous post, Got Commander’s Intent? A Key to Great Leadership here.

¹ Mastering Leadership: An Integrated Framework for Breakthrough Performance and Extraordinary Business Results by Robert J. Anderson and William A. Adams


  1. Louise Campbell on August 30, 2017 at 2:16 pm

    Great article – and great return on investment!

    • Lisa on September 19, 2017 at 2:05 pm

      Thanks Louise!

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