It is the day of the 10th anniversary of the WOW! Awards gala at the Tower of London. I thought it would salve my anger to write about the train “service” my local train operating company, Greater Anglia, “provides”. As a corporate entity it has about as much chance of winning an award as a chocolate remaining in a solid state in a furnace.
Today also saw the annual announcement of the increase in rail fares, 3.1% in January 2019.
This has been a real lesson in stepping back, taking time and remembering to breathe. It has reminded me that professionally and personally it’s fundamentally important to create space. Only then can we achieve the perspective we need on what we’re working towards.
This week is a big week for me. We are moving house, have said goodbye to builders who have been preparing our new place and are expecting our second child in less than two weeks. All the things you’re told not to do together, we’re doing them.
This has led me to reflect on resilience and leadership. With a heavily pregnant wife much of the heavy lifting (literal and metaphoric) has fallen to me. At times I haven’t held up as robustly as I would like to think I would be able to.
It focusses on the results of a survey carried out amongst senior decision makers working for small businesses in the UK and contains the usual plethora of damming statistics and hyperbole about the lack of management development available and the quality of that which is.
Of those surveyed 87% thought employers should be doing more to develop management and leadership skill, 91% thought schools and universities should do a better job preparing students for leadership roles and only 3% thought that UK companies had world leading managers.
Add to this the oft quoted $14 billion that our cousins in the US spend on leadership development each year and it’s a wonder anyone who works in L&D ever gets through a performance appraisal!
And yet, if you asked those same senior decision makers what were the most critical roles in their organisations, the ones absolutely vital to its success, what would they say – and could they support the statement with evidence?
My guess is they could not. In fact, I’d suggest that most organisations, large and small, are in a similar situation. Do they have an opinion? I’m sure they do. Do they have any data to support it? That remains to be seen.
So, to the 87% who think employers should be doing more to develop management and leadership skill, I commend your altruism. I also wonder if you invest money in an equally haphazard way when paying to develop other key resources and infrastructure.
We need to stop banging this particular drum and create a more focussed approach to development – and that approach starts not with the people but the organisation.
Learning leaders everywhere need to help their organisations be more measured and strategic in their approach to development. Here are five steps to get you underway.
Our moment in life is now and we must take full responsibility of our decisions and the learning that comes from them.
I am a firm believer that we come into this world with an empty toolbox. As we walk along our path, we find tools along the way. Sometimes the tools that we find are not useful immediately but one will always find a use for it down the road. I always like to relate this to a TV series that I used to watch during my childhood called “McGyver”. It was about this very smart agent that collected several items during the episode and at the end he would save the day with a clever “gadget solution” made out of all the items he had collected.