For over 50 years, managers and leaders have been exposed to interesting but ultimately unsuccessful training methods in the hope they will develop leaders skills and help their companies excel. More than 90% of leadership programmes are still like this – we say it’s time to go back to good foundations.

Reasons leadership programmes fail to improve leaders skills

No 1: The idea is great, but there’s no context

How many times have you or a colleague come back from a course thinking you’d discovered something groundbreaking?

That this amazing new idea would change the way you do everything?

The problem is, when you try to put this new insight to work, you realise that it simply cannot be enacted. You were given a nugget of gold – but without consideration for the context in which it could be used.

As HBR points out:

“Participants in corporate education programmes often tell us that the context in which they work makes it difficult to put what they’re taught into practice.”

Harvard Business Review

It’s a little like when a sensational new parenting book tops the charts, and everyone rushes out to buy it. In many cases, the groundbreaking ideas it contains fail because the variables are too numerous and, therefore, the context doesn’t match up.

In a work setting, the multitude of variables includes your environments, systems, processes, social norms and much more. These make it virtually impossible for any traditional learning programme to be actionable in all settings.

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No 2: No consideration is given to how the brain processes new information

When your organisation invests hundreds of thousands of pounds on a new software system, consideration will be given to the hardware it will run on.

No one would take it for granted that everything will work seamlessly or that the computers are guaranteed to cope with the sudden influx of demands on their processing power.

Unfortunately, we don’t extend our leaders and managers the same courtesy. We assume that just because they’ve learned things in the past, the new information they’ll receive on a training programme will automatically be processed.

However, as the website for the International Society for Technology in Education (EdSurge) notes:

“Brain science confirms that sleep is essential for neurons to connect and link the complex learning steps that students are exposed to during the day, also known as the brain-derived neurotrophic factor.”

Ed Surge

This is just the tip of the iceberg. Correctly being able to process and enact large volumes of complex new information involves what is known as “spaced learning” – bite-sized chunks shared over time, interspersed with sleep and retrieval practice to deepen understanding.

It’s worth remembering that according to the Ebbinghaus “Forgetting curve”, humans forget around 70% of what they learn within 24 hours. This, however, can be improved using non-traditional training techniques.

No 3: The root causes of business weaknesses are not addressed

If an athlete is not performing at their best, their coach will break down every step of what they are doing to find the root cause. World-famous golfers have been known to painstakingly rebuild their swing from scratch just to gain a few extra yards.

Traditional training programmes tend to ignore the strengths and weaknesses of both the individuals in attendance and also the business itself.

In sporting terms, this would be like giving Michael Jordan a book on How to Jump Higher when the reason he was struggling was a broken ankle.

As McKinsey notes:

“A professional services business wanted senior leaders to initiate more provocative and meaningful discussions with senior clients. Once the trainers looked below the surface, they discovered that these leaders, though highly successful in their fields, were instinctively uncomfortable and lacking in confidence when conversations moved beyond their narrow functional expertise.”


If you don’t identify the cause of the issue, how can you hope that your training – no matter how revolutionary – will change the status quo?

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What happens as a result of outdated training programmes for your leaders and managers?


  • View training programmes as a waste of time
  • Struggle to make critical improvements to the business
  • Question their value as a leader


  • Lack motivation, feel undervalued and get burnt out
  • Prevent their people from achieving their maximum potential
  • Start thinking about changing companies


When a training provider actually understands how the human brain works, everything changes. Ineffective teaching methods are instantly abandoned.

Instead, your leaders and managers embark upon tailored, scientifically proven training paths that leverage the power and flexibility of the human mind to bring out the best not just in themselves but the whole company.

Synaptic Potential’s training and development programmes utilise proven scientific techniques to get to the root of corporate blind spots and help leaders and managers adopt new habits that will propel everyone to greatness.

Our programmes have:

  • Strategic clarity.
  • Context that is directly aligned to your workplace, environment and culture.
  • Unlimited flexibility to ensure longevity/future-proofing.
  • Real-life application across numerous live business issues.
  • A diagnostic approach, analysing ‘symptoms’ to identify a root cause that can then be ‘treated’.

Very insightful and stimulating.

“In the most lively and energetic way Amy has helped us understand how our brain can prevent us from reaching our full potential and has given us practical ways to overcome this. Very insightful and stimulating.”

Rob Koremans, MD, CEO, Recordati S.p.A

Take me to the programmes:


Fact: Very few non-scientists understand how the brain really works. And if you don’t know how it functions, how can you make it work better?

The Good News: Over the last few decades, neuroscience and behavioural science have started unravelling how the brain works and showing us new ways to use it more effectively.

Where We Come In: Synaptic Potential has translated this science into practical insights and habits that show people how to make their brains work better. We help them unlock their Whole Brain PotentialTM.

In a Business Setting: No matter what challenges your leaders are facing (sudden changes in the business landscape, workplace culture issues, misaligned policies), innovative solutions can be found when they start to understand and explore their Whole Brain PotentialTM.

It’s like giving them the keys to an instruction manual they never knew existed.

Synaptic Potential has worked with: