According to Deloitte, organizations and individuals globally spend more than $50B annually on leadership
Last year, these dollars were spent on a wide variety of activities designed to build leadership competencies and skills. These activities range from external educational programs and partnerships to internally developed face-to-face webinars, and e-learning. They include everything from development experiences and stretch assignments to 360 surveys and one-on-one coaching; from action learning teams and communities of practice to simulations and assessment centers; for job rotations to strategic mentorship, and more.
Despite the pandemic, no expense was spared in some organizations to surround leaders with the activities, resources, and tools necessary to elevate their capacity to guide, inspire, and influence individuals and business results. Yet other organizations chose to shift their focus in a profound way. Rather than dishing up external experiences to build leadership capacity, they used this extraordinary time to begin exploring a new – internal – frontier.
For the average leader, life is filled with an ever-changing kaleidoscope of challenges that offer tremendous opportunity for learning and growth. Ordinary occurrences during a normal day at work can be as instructive as the most carefully crafted training exercise… for a leader who recognizes this… for a leader who knows how to turn life into learning.
Extracting Insights from the Daily Grind to Develop Leaders
Organizations can redeploy billions of training dollars each year by focusing on helping leaders mine their regularly scheduled lives for deep insights, feedback, strategies and solutions. Rather than offering additional programs, organizations can teach and support leaders to build reflection loops into the work day. Some might call it mindfulness. But for hard-nosed business professionals, it’s just about taking a moment and gathering meaningful feedback real-time to efficiently drive personal and organizational change.
What if we learned to mine the mundane events that surround us every day? What if we got into the habit of extracting insights from the daily grind?
What if we developed the discipline to look inside for genuine learning rather than outside for the artifacts of it?
This new frontier could offer a less expensive, more available and totally customized development experience for leaders at all levels of the organization – as well as a genuine and sustainable culture of learning and performance. The way it works is to support leaders in building a new mental routine or set of habits; and it’s a straightforward as 1, 2, 3.
- Leaders set aside 10 minutes at the end of each day for reflection. Depending upon the preferred processing mechanism, people engage in a mental review. They can journal or discuss the challenges they faced, actions they took, and results they achieved.
- They then take 5 or so minutes to crystalize specifically what they learned during that day and how they can use that learning the next day. Leaders write down their learning to create a learning log.
- Each week, a 10-minute review of the learning log will highlight themes, illuminating recurring challenges and the skills and practices that best address them.
This efficient practice yields the most visceral and relevant learning experience possible. With time – like anything – these simple steps become habit. When leaders allow for self-generated learning, others will see how effective the approach is.
It’s time to recognize real life for the powerful classroom it is… and help leaders – and everyone – develop the capacity to translate life into learning.
Originally published on SmartBrief