Leadership Expertise Takes Work — PERSONAL work

At a time when we need incredibly competent, fast-adapting leadership, our resources (their time, budgets) are unseasonably strained.

Disclaimer: much of my current client efforts are in executive development, and I tend to take something of a contrarian – yet thus far, quite effective – approach to those efforts.

Some trends: Team-based learning is “in.” We’ve finally discovered that you can’t expect an executive team to act like a team if they don’t train like a team. Equally interesting, we’ve finally realized that to develop skills with people, you need people doing the development. Face-to-face facilitation, arguing concepts, testing others approaches, all occur in a personal environment (vs. online and/or self-directed).

Online and/or other self-directed methods are fine for planned reinforcement, additional examples, or further dialog, but not for initial content delivery and discussions.

(Live videoconferencing is another animal altogether, and we can discuss in another post)

Next, we need to continue to understand that what got us here can’t get us there. In other words, these executives, to become/remain successful, must – MUST – be in a mode of constant learning and professional evolution.

Top of their game“: First, let’s get ‘em there, as many more aren’t that believe they are. Rising to the top doesn’t always mean you were best qualified, even with well-designed and executed succession planning. Today’s executives are uniquely exposed to constituents; flaws nearly unnoticeable yesterday are flagrant today. Next, we keep ‘em at the top by constant coaching and development.

This sounds self-serving, I know, but whether it’s me, someone similar, or even a qualified in-house resource, developing these executives must be on top of mind for any organization.

Think about it: Top-performing athletes, musicians, military, etc. train incessantly, even if already recognized as top of the food chain. What makes us think that executives – with way more moving parts and impact – don’t need that same level of development??

Recessionary effect: Funny; I’ve seen an uptick in business here, but frequently enter into near-Twilight-Zone conversations with potential clients. Short-sided CEOs see executive development as a cost; long-haul producers – those who want to succeed now (versus hunker down/wait it out) and be prepared for better times – realize that executive education, learning, and development is the key to that success

To coin an oft-used phrase from a colleague of mine… This ain’t rocket surgery.

But that’s just me…


Kevin Berchelmann

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