Back to the initial question. What would you do if you were leaving for three weeks? Would you send your direct report off to a leadership training class or maybe ask them to take a Coursera workshop? Likely the content of both of these are perfect for an academic exploration of the topic, but you are leaving for three months and you need leadership growth now. Since 2008, leadership has taken a back seat to keeping the doors open at most companies. This strategic decision now creates a perfect storm: leaders do not have Succession Plans and potential leaders do not have Career Development Plans. It's very likely that someone in your organization has a 'box-of-leadership-training' they would love to share with your learners. It is very likely the investment of time in that will not create a return. Yes, I just typed that. It won't work. If you are responsible for growing the future of your company through leadership, stop, think about how leadership is really built, and help provoke managers into leaders through collaborative, real experiences.
Contest 2: Looking at this list, tell us which three you would cut from this list because they are total (see picture). You are an automatic winner by sending the three letters to email@example.com. Watch our blog for the results of this contest!
Congratulations to our Winners!
You may not have the clout, budget or courage to tackle leadership learning that is so different than your status quo. Brittney has developed a bite-size way that you can provoke leadership. She has created four bundles that will provide you with a complete and quick way to:
Learn More or Purchase a Leadership Bundle
When I created the Power of You learning experience this year, my goal was to help people at work take their energy back. Your leaders and managers are overwhelmed by their workload, each individual has the power to change this if he or she chooses. An overwhelmed leader is an ineffective leader. This adds to the depth of the chasm. A great CIO is gifted at prioritizing attention. A talented manager will have difficulty stepping out of the chaos. I believe many are addicted to being constantly needed to solve some problem. They have forgotten how to say no. This deep-dive experiential time away builds awareness. It can also provide the hope to chose to lead self and others. Our recent learners from Indy area companies and NASA prove the value of ACT (Tim Gallwey): Accept Choose Trust. Big leaps are not possible with an emotionally disabled brain.
Here are other examples of how you provoke leadership. Deep Dives replace training through these designs:
When RMA Facilitator Susan Mosey worked with Medco (now Express Scripts) to build a leadership program, the goal was to grow leaders from high potential managers. Each leader was required to have a Succession Plan in place and a successor grown and ready before they could attend this workshop. The Succession Plan was the responsibility of the manager who wanted to be a leader, not the responsibility of the leader of the manager. It was also not driven by HR. The three-day retreat was designed to be fully immersive (most stayed in the hotel) and included a 360 degree assessment, DISC and Workplace Motivators assessments, simulations, 1-on-1 coaching and the learners had significant time with senior executives- including the CEO. Each retreat was championed by a member of the senior leadership team, which meant this individual was in every session the entire three days and committed to coaching each of the 30 people in the session a month after the retreat ended. Different concepts were used to provoke leadership (for example, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, Patrick Lencioni). A business simulator was hired to perform 'typical' meetings to point out the lost productivity in the work day. Instead of training, we provoked leadership by challenging, sharing and reframing but the participants chose what they implemented. In much of this experience, they taught each other. Ongoing coaching and group cohorts created ongoing growth.
Leadership is grown through relationships. It is not a muscle that can be grown by yourself. Provoking leadership requires confronting, challenging, listening, and frustration which all lead to growth. In training classes we measure success by post-class evaluations. If the learners aren't happy, there's trouble ahead. With leaders, seeing themselves in a mirror will likely be uncomfortable. Leadership interventions have to allow participants to struggle- that's how you get over the chasm. It is not an academic exercise. PowerPoint and eLearning modules may support some content knowledge but they will not grow leaders. Yes, it’s a great gesture to send your leader to the local university for leadership or sit them in front of an Ivy League leadership eLearning program, but if there is no knowledge exchange with peers and mentors, there is no performance change. Will the student learn new information? Yes. Will they internalize it and change their approach to leadership? Not statistically likely.
You can win our contest two ways or twice this month. Two reputable leadership authors and consultants recently published a list of the Top 10 Leadership Skills that predict success.
Using the list below, rank these in the same order the authors did (1 being most important, 10 being lowest importance). To make it even trickier, there are 11 words below and you can only choose 10.
Send your ranking to firstname.lastname@example.org (ex: abcdefghij) and win fabulous merchandise.
Congratulations to the Following Contest Winners!
It is difficult to move from manager to leader for just this reason. Across the chasms, the jobs are measured differently. Like the bootstrapped tech start-ups here in Indy, not differentiating these roles prevents scalability and sustainability. The disruptive technology can only mature into a profitable company if there are talented operations resources and a forward thinking leader at some point. The tech entrepreneur will have difficulty moving away from operationalizing their original idea enough to be able to lead strategically. Strategy requires multiple possible futures, and entrepreneurs have invested so much sweat equity that it's difficult for them to embrace different outcomes. We recently created a Programmer Job Benchmark for Eleven Fifty Academy with the help of local (and successful) CIOs. As we tested this benchmark against successful programmers, we found that the benchmark was solid with one difference - the CIOs emphasized team work and communication skills as a much higher priority. The most talented programmers prioritized technology (operations) over influencing (strategic). Their side of the chasm is rewarded by good code. The secret is the reward on the other side is not good code no matter how close you get to the edge. Request a copy of the white paper on the Programmer Job Benchmark and to learn how to leverage it to improve your hiring success.
This is also true in other areas of the business including Sales, HR, Marketing, Finance and Legal. The experts in the function have difficulty transitioning to leadership or they are transitioned into leadership because that functional area has no power. What are the costs of this chasm? Hiring a CIO from out of the company and often out of the area requires costly transition pains for an organization, culturally and transitional. Finding candidates is pricey and the impact of new priorities and preference from a new leader, especially one from outside, drives the loss of invisible dollars in lost productivity. If the reorganization disengages key employees, there are plenty of people locally right now who are willing to steal them away. Is it possible for companies to strategically grow future leaders? Is there a way to grow an internal CIO, reducing the cost of transitions and onboarding? Would a training course do it? Nope.
As we've delivered leadership training, including IT leadership, over the last 20 years, we have raged against the chasm that exists between a manager and a leader with our customers. Sure, leaders have to be managers some of the time and managers dip a toe in leadership if they ever have time to do so. There is a giant pivot between the jobs of manager and leader when the best person is in the job. As an example, considered one of my favorite groups to provoke leadership within- IT. Strong technologists with people skills are promoted to middle managers but rarely do these 'home grown' leaders end up as the CIO. Instead, the CIO is brought in from outside, much like other C Level rock star hires. Why is it so hard to become a leader from within?
Managers are rewarded for focusing on tactical efficiencies. Their jobs are to get the people working with and for them to deliver value to the internal and/or external customers. Done correctly, it's an operational focus. The tighter the organization becomes, the more promotions until the leader gets within sight of the CIO job. Dead End. Being even more blunt, if you know of a CIO that was promoted from within you will usually find a marginalized IT organization that is not strategic and not invited to the table with the executives.
CIOs focus energy on the business strategy, not on operations. The board and executive peers are the chess pieces that when influenced, align the organization to that strategy. When done correctly, the CIO fights for the future. His or her time is prioritizing future over current as much as possible. Growing the leaders below to handle the operations allows strategic work for the CIO. Good CIOs grow their direct reports to protect the CIO's strategic time by 'handling it'. Good CIOs live in the future; what is happening today on whatever project is over to them. There are bigger fish to fry.
A personal emergency comes up and you aren't going to be at work for three months. You have one week before you leave. Imagine that you have a high performer in your organization that you consider your trusted backup. The only person you can leave in charge is your trusted backup, but this person is not ready and you are throwing them in the deep end. What are the three things that you would do before you leave to prepare them to be the leader while you are gone?