How to Develop Potential Leaders Leadership

How to Train Potential Leaders When You Have No Money

You know you must train your potential leaders but you have no money to make it happen. What do you do? My advice: practice the 70-20-10 strategy to train your potential leaders. 

How to Train Potential Leaders When You Have No Money

Photo Credit: Robert Sullivan

The 70-20-10 strategy was created by the Center for Creative Leadership based on thirty years of Lessons of Experience research.[ref]Ron Rabin, Blended Learning for Leadership: The CCL Approach (Greensboro, NC: Center for Creative Leadership, 2014). The 70-20-10 principle is also described by Kramer and Nayak, Nonprofit Leadership Development, 82-101; Kramer, “Solving the Time and Money Puzzle”; and Hoyle, Informal Learning in Organizations, 168-177.[/ref]

The 70-20-10 rule for leader development follows this breakdown:

  • 70 percent challenging assignments,
  • 20 percent developmental relationships, and
  • 10 percent coursework and training.[ref]Rabin, Blended Learning for Leadership, 2.[/ref]

In nonprofit organizations, these three components reinforce each other and add up to a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts.[ref]Kramer and Nayak, Nonprofit Leadership Development, 83.[/ref] Before examining the 70-20-10 strategy closer, it is important to describe what it is not.

Robin Hoyle mentions he has seen the 70-20-10 approach misrepresented in these statements: 90 percent of learning is done on the job, it is how people naturally learn, the numbers do not matter, the 20 percent is done most effectively through Twitter and LinkedIn, and since most learning is done on the job there is no need for training courses.[ref]Hoyle, Informal Learning in Organizations, 169.[/ref] However, let’s look at the correct understanding of the 70-20-10 principle.


70 Percent Challenging Assignments


Why Leadership Development Is Needed for Young People

Nonprofit organizations are often understaffed and underfunded, resulting in over worked mid-level managers. As a result, most nonprofit managers are faced with the challenge of running a program, managing a staff, providing monthly board reports, helping with various fundraising responsibilities, and last but not least, developing leaders within their staff. Sadly, all of the challenges nonprofit leaders face often prevent leadership development from occurring. While developing leaders can yield the highest outcomes for employee productivity and improvement in the community, this area often gets put aside amongst other pressures because it does not provide immediate results or feedback. 

Why Leadership Development Is Needed for Young People

Photo Credit: Ken Lund


I experienced this lack of leadership development during the six years I was an employee at the United Way. As a Campaign Associate my primary responsibility was to recruit, equip, train, and lead approximately 125 volunteers. During those five years I had three different direct supervisors. These individuals were responsible for my growth as a competent employee and potential future leader within our organization.