Daily Inspiration and Reflection: On Hope

“The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something. Don’t wait for good things to happen to you. If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope, you will fill yourself with hope.”
― Barack Obama

Play to Learn using Growth Mindset and 10,000 hour rule.

The Game of Learning Design—The goal of effective learning is to  take valued people from where they are now to where they want to go by learning to live on purpose and becoming master of their potential into high performance.                                                                      

We all know that at some point we are going to die. So the question becomes what are we going to do with our time here?  What is our purpose for living? How long will it take to become a “master” in some professional skill or performance activity?

 I just finished reading Malcom Gladwell’s latest book, Outliers. In one of its chapters, he explains the 10,000-hour rule. This rule states that people don’t become “masters” at complex things (programming, music, painting, free throws) until they have accrued 10,000-hours of practice. And…he does a great job of illustrating that people who are commonly regarded as “masters” are really just people who hit the 10,000 hour mark very early in their lifetimes. (Examples: Mozart and the Beatles in music; Bill Gates and Steve Wozniak in programming, Michael Phelps in swimming.

The research he cites to prove his point is compelling. It does support this 10,000 hour threshold and crosses all types of areas from foreign language acquisition computer programming through hockey. Who cares, you ask? As learning professionals, WE SHOULD.  In an era where company management wants training on just about anything distilled down to a few hours of training rather than months or even years of hard work and perseverance, what can a learner realistically do to assure mastery in their field ? One of the ways to gain mastery is to learn the fundamentals of the Growth Mindset: effort, deliberative practice and seeing failure as a challenge not a reason to give-up trying to learn.   

Think about it. Today’s companies want people to spend less and less time in training, and they want to “downsize” out the most experienced workers (i.e. the most expensive ones).  It’s time for us to tell companies the truth: we can’t make people competent at anything complex unless we really allow them the time required to learn. And a 30-minute e-course or 4-hour classroom experience – or even an 8-hour e-course and week-long training course won’t make people “masters” at anything. At best, we give them a starting point to use in building competence on the job over the long haul. 

Don’t believe me? How long would you speculate someone needs to practice before you’d say they were a “good” doctor? Do you want the 1st year resident taking out your appendix or the general surgeon whose been doing her job for 10 years? What about driving? How many hours on the road does someone need before you feel like they are a good driver? I’ll bet it’s not the six hours that is the sum total of most driver’s education training programs.  IF you had to have someone selling your services or your product, who would you prefer: The employee who just transferred into the sales department or the sales department’s top seller, who, by the way, has been doing sales for more than 5 years (which would translate to about 10,000 hours of time if you multiply 52 weeks x 40 hours x 5 years)? 

No one gets good at anything without deliberative practice – and lots of it. The more we practice the right things and get feedback, the better we get. We need to think through learning design very carefully if we really want learners to get better at what we’re trying to teach them. Companies don’t have 5 years to train the new sales guy, so we have to come up with a design that allows as much practice as possible in as short a period of time as possible. When our designs are all “tell,” and no “do,” then we are setting learners up to be absolutely no better at doing something AFTER training than they were before training – even if we provided lots of great information or “reference” material. And when we pretend we can make people good at presenting, conducting meetings, project management, selling, managing, troubleshooting, innovation etc. by creating and delivering a 60-minute e-course or 1/2-day classroom session for them to take, we are just plain mistaken. This short-term training just does not work. 

How can we do a better job of helping people actually get good at something through the learning solutions we devise? Self-directed learning via the computer so workers can learn to choose what, how and go at their own pace is one solution.

Daily Quote, Reflection and Self-Coaching Challenge: Sorting Out the Strengths and Blind Spots of Your Leadership Style

Daily Quote: “Leaders are people who do the right things; managers are people who do things right.” Warren Bennis – “The Dean of Leadership Gurus. 

” Leadership is the lifting of a man’s vision to higher sights, the raising of a man’s performance to a higher standard, the building of a man’s personality beyond its normal limitations.” – Peter Drucker

 

Reflection: Searching for answers about Leadership

As an up and coming manager and leader in your organization, you have just received feedback on your leadership style. Some of the feedback rings true for you, while other feedback, especially on your blind spots doesn’t fit the picture you have as yourself as a leader.

Searching the internet and web on Leadership can be confusing because of the large  amount of writing and theorizing on  the concept of leadership. I have found a resource from Korn/Ferry research center that will save you time and money on helping you identify your leadership style. Korn Ferry writers and researchers J. Evelyn Orr and Guangrong Dai found that four primary patterns of leadership account for 70 percent of managers and executives. Each type has its own strengths and weaknesses that play out in different ways on the job. Matching leadership type to job expectations and role assignments can help you make more reflective career planning choices and proactively choose to build a plan for development that is based on increasing self-awareness through self-directed career coaching.

The authors begin their article with these profound questions, that I hope you will answer. will inspire you to explore as you read and reflect on the concept of Leadership Styles. They ask you to reflect on whether you are: “Task-oriented or people-oriented? Democratic or autocratic? Hands-on or laissez-faire?

They go -on to say  that often descriptions like this are artificially dichotomous (black or white, right or wrong). ” These types of classifications do not identify the shades of grey that is the reality for most of us. An analysis of managers’ and executives’ actual skill profiles reveals four real-world leadership types that are not so black-and-white. Seeing the gray is a good thing. Here’s why: People identify their strengths fairly accurately, but gloss over their weaknesses. The four leadership types that Korn/Ferry research has uncovered reflect leaders as they are, warts and all. So those who recognize their strengths in one type can then spot
their probable corresponding weaknesses. Simple self-awareness of the 4 patterns can help leaders improve and
with work on overcoming some of the limits of their leadership type and thus improve their leadership skills and practices.”

Want to read more:

1. http://www.kornferryinstitute.com/sites/all/files//documents/briefings-magazine-download/The%20leadership%20reality%20check%20.pdf

2. A review of the literature on many significant Leadership Theories and Models  http://www.valuesbasedleadershipjournal.com/issues/vol3issue1/gurus_on_leadership.php

 

 Self-Coaching Challenge: 

1. Read the above article written by Korn Ferry researchers and select the one style that fits the image of yourself as a leader.
2. Match-up from data from your 360 feedback or select three colleagues to read the article and provide feedback on which style of leadership fits or describes you the most accurately.
3. Is there a mismatch between you self-perception and how others see you? Reflect on the gaps and determine what needs work to bring your perception and others view of your leadership style into alignment.
4. Develop a thirty-day plan to work on the areas needing improvement or your blind spots.