Leading Effectively e-Newsletter - March 2012 Issue
Trend Watch: Own Your Development
What should be stopped or phased out in leadership development?
When Nick Petrie asked the question to 30 experts, he got a consistent answer: Stop sending people to courses they don't want to go to.
Petrie dug deeper into this question during a sabbatical year at Harvard. Now a senior faculty member with CCL, he says, "It turns out that the model of telling others what they need to learn and develop isn't as valuable as it seems. People develop fastest when they feel responsible for their own progress."
If you've ever achieved a goal or learned something new because you were personally passionate about it, the point may be obvious. "But 50 years of leadership development practices have encouraged people to believe that someone else is responsible for their development," says Petrie. "Many people still have the sense that it is someone else's job to tell me what I need to get better at and how to do it."
In the future this will change. "In the coming years and decades, we will see developmental ownership transferring more and more to the individual," Petrie continues.
Petrie found that the growing field of executive coaching holds clues for how to help individuals learn and develop without the prescriptive, top-down approach many of us have experienced. For example, CCL's approach to coaching rests on several factors, including:
Petrie also found that organizations where people take greater ownership of their development have many of these characteristics:
Of course, not every aspect of development can be organized and carried out by individuals. The role of learning and development professionals within organizations will remain crucial. But those roles, says Petrie, are likely to change significantly to focus on creating new structures and processes for development — so that people have access to the options and opportunities that matter most to them.
An Ownership Test
In their 2009 book Immunity to change: How to Overcome It and Unlock Potential in Yourself and Your Organization, Robert Kegan and Lisa Lahey suggest that you would know people in an organization are taking ownership of their ongoing development when you could walk in. Any person could tell you:
Want to learn more? Download Future Trends in Leadership Development, a CCL white paper by Nicholas Petrie. You can also follow Nick on his blog about learning, growing and performing at www.nicholaspetrie.com.
CCL's open-enrollment programs target the real-world challenges unique to each level of leadership — whether you're just starting out or running a global organization.