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Screw the ROI! There are more important things to consider in leadership…

One of the most frustrating questions I get is when people ask me about the ROI on training human-centric leaders.…

At some point you just have to make a decision — are you going to do the right thing or not? Are you going to be a responsible leader who cares about people? A leader dedicated to the success and well-being of the people you serve?

Or are you going to just treat people like machines and grind as much out of them as you can for as long as they’re willing to put up with it?

FACT: You’re not likely going to get an immediate dollar for dollar return on human centered leadership development.

We’ve got plenty of evidence to show that companies that pay attention to human-centric leader ship outperform the competition. And I'll add that most of the people who immediately challenge me on ROI are not focused on long-term success and sustainability, but rather on what measurable results can expect today, this month––this quarter.

We don’t need another study to prove that people work harder, perform at higher levels and produce more when they trust and respect their leaders and know their leaders care. Those studies have been done and the results never change.

This is about treating people the right way. That's just the right thing to do. And doing the right thing is the very definition of moral courage––especially when it’s not immediately expedient or profitable. Of course, the cost of not doing the right thing can be devastating.

Contrast organizations that continually pay attention to human-centric leadership and those who invest little or nothing in developing their leaders as people. That's where you'll see the real difference. Fred Kiel’s seminal Return On Character is a great place to start if you want some sense of the dollar value. There’s a nice summary of Kiel’s work on

“Kiel found that high-integrity CEOs had a multi-year return of 9.4%, while low integrity CEOs had a yield of just 1.9%. What's more, employee engagement was 26% higher in organizations led by high-integrity CEOs.”

Kiel’s “high-integrity” leaders are those who embrace the characteristics and essential purposes of an authentic leader we support and develop through THE SENSEI LEADER MOVEMENT including Courage, Compassion and genuine Wisdom.