Development Initiatives Delayed by Many Companies: Survey

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For a variety of reasons, including limited budget, many U.S. companies have had to put some management development initiatives on hold during the past four years, according to a survey released Sept. 13, 2012, by AMA Enterprise, a division of American Management Association International. Forty-seven percent of respondents delayed at least one program, and 36 percent did so in several cases. Among the 17 percent of organizations that have thus far avoided delays, a majority conceded that there are planned initiatives that may yet be postponed.

AMA Enterprise, which provides companies with assessment, measurement and learning solutions, surveyed top managers, human resource professionals and executives from more than 300 organizations garnered from its database of contacts during July and August 2012.

Among the key reasons cited for postponing programs were:

  • Limited budget, resources.
  • Shifting business priorities.
  • Lack of time.
  • Lack of senior management support.

“It’s no secret that the recession challenged development efforts at most organizations,” said Sandi Edwards, senior vice president for AMA Enterprise, in a statement about the results. “Broader management development programs were most frequently put on hold, while certain strategic training projects moved forward in response to pressing business priorities.”

Programs Postponed

Respondents Citing Delays

Management Development


Individual Professional Development


Leadership Development


Technical Skills


General Communication Skills


Succession Planning




Business Acumen Skills


Executive Development


High-Potential Programs


Global Leadership Development


Source: AMA Enterprise, division of American Management Association International, 2012.

Other survey findings revealed that a majority of respondents agreed that soft skills training was affected more by delays than other types of programs. Further, respondents whose companies delayed initiatives were evenly divided on whether they agreed with that decision. Of the various stalled programs, respondents consider both management and leadership development as most likely to benefit their organizations in 2013.

Companies appear to have recognized that high-potential and global leadership initiatives are linked to executing corporate business strategies, Edwards observed.

“It is also vital in our leaner, flatter, continuously evolving organizations to ensure the engagement and commitment of all managers and individual contributors,” she said. “To be successful, companies need to fuel innovation and productivity at every level. Senior executives can best signal the value of corporate talent by providing them with creative learning and development experiences to enhance corporate performance.”