Experience ALONE is a horrible teacher.
What would happen if we just let everyone learn to read or write on their own? What would the literacy rate be? In the past 50 years, I believe this is how many organizations have attempted to cut costs and develop leaders. The expectation has been to select the top technical performer, offer a week of on-the-job-training, and hope for a great leader! Learn from experience? By itself, it is a horrible teacher! Consider the most important leadership position many of us have without education, training and little coaching – parenthood. Again, until recently we were all on our own, learning from experience as kids, and becoming parents without training.
I encourage you to be more intentional about how you select and develop leadership across a broader base of employees. It’s important to understand leadership is a responsibility, not just a position. Think about it. Individuals have every day opportunities to demonstrate leadership but most of the time, do so inadequately. Why? Could it be because we have not intentionally entered into a leadership development process that includes training, education, coaching, support, application and mentoring? Some organizations invest in leadership development to a few high performing, high potential employees. There is nothing wrong with this and I support it. At the same time our cultures are changing. The younger generations want to be more involved and engaged in something important. The path to this involvement, is to engage most of your employees in LEADERSHIP development. Maximize the facilitation of organizing and executing work by having the right person, with the right expertise, at the right time, in the right situation provide opportunistic LEADERSHIP. But this means we need to teach everyone the basics of leadership. We cannot expect employees to contribute to the team in this new way without teaching the skills of leadership! So, where do we start? How do we develop these leadership skills to so many? We have to change the way to teach and transfer skills development to many employees or we will continue to expect employees to “sink or swim”.
Experience alone is a HORRIBLE teacher!
The manager becomes a facilitator rather than a director, decision maker, direction giver or any number of other passé roles of the old school of management. MANAGERS STOP telling people what to do and start facilitating the PROCESS of organizing and execution.
Over the past 30 years, companies with long term success such as GE and P&G, developed and continually update internal leadership development programs. I recall in the early 1980s, when I worked for P&G, regular training sessions and skills development sessions were offered at all levels of the organization. And I worked in manufacturing! However, when I later worked for Scott Paper Company, I did not attend any leadership or management training unless I developed it myself (that was the beginning of what I do today!) Unfortunately, continual improvement wasn’t part of their culture. What happened to P&G and Scott Paper? P&G continues to grow and thrive, while Scott Paper was bought by Kimberly Clark in 1995.
Ultimately, we at Statarius trust that experience ALONE is a horrible teacher. The distinct and unique 7 Steps of Intentional LeadershipTM development model takes this extremely complex process and simplified it to help business leaders build the bench for the future. In our experience, most mid-size companies do not have the resources to develop an internal leadership program. Despite that some high performers do have a propensity toward natural leadership talents, the application of this model and the process of development will leverage natural talents so the high potential employees have the opportunity to excel.
Statarius is dedicated to using the best possible solutions – keeping it simple, and delivering excellence for business leaders to build the bench. Can your company afford to spend millions, and possibly a decade, to develop your own program? Do you have the staff expertise to handle such program development? Who actually taught you most about leadership in your life?
“Leaders aren’t born, they’re made. They are made just like anything else, through hard work. That is the price we’ll have to pay to achieve that goal or any goal.”
– Vince Lombardi