All Articles Leadership Management You have $1,000 to spend on leadership development. What do you do?

You have $1,000 to spend on leadership development. What do you do?

10 entrepreneurs share how they'd spend $1,000 set aside for leadership development.

4 min read



The Young Entrepreneur Council is an invite-only organization composed of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses. Read previous SmartBlogs posts by YEC.

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If you had an extra $1,000 to spend on leadership development right now, what would you spend it on and why?

1. Spend a night out with the leadership team

Take the leadership team out for the night to discuss new ideas and challenges. Your leadership team will thrive off the ideas and insights from other leaders in the organization. For instance, somebody in operations may inspire somebody in marketing with a better process for managing their team. Get these leaders together in a more open environment outside of the office to open up discussions. — Andy Karuza (, FenSens ( )

2. Buy books

If you’re scrappy, $1,000 can yield at least 100 great books. Becoming a great leader isn’t about learning one or two things. You need to understand your own psychology, have market insights to set a vision for your company, learn how to work well with a team and inspire them — and about 97 other things. Read, test ideas that resonate, then share the books so your team can develop too. — Aaron Schwartz, Modify Watches

3. Attract a dream mentor

I’d use the $1,000 to attract a dream mentor who requires a little more effort. In some cases, you need to go the extra mile to get noticed and to show your commitment. I’d use that money to travel to a mentor and fund a few great meetings over dinners or activities like a sports game. A mentor will give you value that greatly exceeds your $1,000 investment. — Andrew Thomas, SkyBell Doorbell

4. Set up team-building activities

I would definitely organize team-building exercises for my employees. To meet the company’s goals and objectives, it is important to note that the core members are united by the same vision and mission in order to increase productivity. These activities promote open channels of communication within the group and further enhance their decision-making skills. — Richard Lorenzen, Fifth Avenue Brands

5. Invest in one-on-one leadership coaching

General training is helpful, but it will never yield leadership results like a one-on-one coach will. It is important that emerging leaders have somebody outside of the company to help develop them within the comfort and protection that only a third-party coach can deliver. — Christopher Kelly, Convene

6. Attend a live Tony Robbins conference

The most empowering leadership development program for under $1,000 is to attend a live Tony Robbins conference, such as “Unleash the Power Within” (UPW). UPW is an intense three-and-a-half day event that focuses on handling fear and overcoming obstacles, setting expectations and goals, creating leverage by eliminating limiting beliefs, and building high-energy workplaces. The event will change your life. — Kristopher Jones,

7. Invest in personality profiles

Doing personality profiles on our entire team was one of the most helpful things we have done. It helped us understand previous miscommunications, connect in new ways and better plan for future strategy. The only scientifically viable personality assessment is the Big 5. DiSC, Myers-Briggs and Enneagram didn’t work. — Vanessa Van Edwards, Science of People

8. Send employees to a Karrass negotiating seminar

I took a course with Karrass a few years back and was simply blown away with the breakdown of the negotiating process. Simple negotiation steps that seem like common sense but are rarely considered were exposed to really help improve my skills. I’d love to send anyone that works for me to this as it’s a benefit for any manager, sales person, project manager, etc. to beef up their negotiating ability. — Josh Sprague, Orange Mud

9. Rewarding my leaders

I would spend it on a fun night out for my leaders. They do such much above and beyond what is expected of them to take care of other members of our team and make sure we continue to provide innovative and expert care in a fun and loving environment.– Ginger Jones, Jones Therapy Services

10. Cover the overhead to “job swap” for a week

As organizations grow, managers and leaders necessarily specialize into their own groups. The downside of this productivity increase is silos, where people no longer internalize or empathize with the needs of other groups. Most startup-oriented people learn best by doing, so having leaders swap responsibilities for a week is probably the fastest way to build alignment and cohesion. — Hongwei Liu, mappedin