I’ve been pondering something, ever since I wrote the post about the hopeless returns on leadership development.
I’ve been wondering what part I want to play in fixing that. It links to the results I got from doing Marcus Buckingham’s Standout questionnaire. It turns out that I am a Revolutionary. A person who likes to design individualised learning programs to meet urgent needs.
I had a wry smile when I first read those results. I don’t (or rather, I didn’t) really see myself as revolutionary. But I liked it, it felt good. So I started to think about my career and the impact I have made, and the innovations I have brought to the table to solve employees’ needs.
Like the Individualised Leadership Program, an action learning program, where 3 people bring their issues to work on, with coaching from the others. That was in response to a group of managers saying that they felt they needed leadership development, but the one-size fits all training wasn’t going to give them what they needed. They worked with a coach facilitator, and they learn how to coach, while also receiving coaching. That was pretty revolutionary, and continues to receive rave reviews.
Then there’s my internal blog, where I continue to bang on about people development being in service of creating value and operating the business effectively. You get so much more innovation, if you develop your people (I notice that Google is a huge believer in this too). The blog is making an impact, slowly but surely changing our culture. Perseverance is key.
And the 30 Day Challenge, where I asked people to sign up for 30 days to take a micro-challenge each day in service of developing their people. The problem we wanted to solve here was showing that people development didn’t have to take you away from the workplace for hours on end…it could just as easily be a thank you, a quick piece of feedback after a meeting, an invitation to come to a meeting to learn something new. Four years later, people are still talking about the 30 Day Challenge…and I hear about 30 day challenge offspring popping up all over the place around the business, repeating the successful formula.
Then there was the coaching challenge, now the Emotional Intelligence challenge. Ok, maybe the challenge idea is no longer innovative! Find something new Clare. Hmm, video-blogging, that’s my latest, and people seem to enjoy hearing a point of view rather than reading it. They read so much all day anyway, that a 3 minute video gives them some respite AND some food-for-thought.
In my current role, we have embraced Human-Centered Design as a new way of developing products and processes to serve our people’s needs. HCD has been around for a while, but it’s definitely cutting edge for us, and making a huge difference to the usefulness, usability and experience of our tools to our people.
Last, but by no means least, I’ve been blazing a trail for the value of coaching for ten years or so, and we’re making headway there too. Managers as coaches, career counsellors as coaches. I found that talking about coaching didn’t really help – showing them coaching made all the difference, as they suddenly realised that it wasn’t what they were doing all along after all.
Why am I telling you all of this? Because sometimes we don’t see ourselves the way others see us. The Standout questionnaire was quite an eye-opener for me. It reminded me of something a colleague had said to me some years back, that I had forgotten. She said, “Clare, you are always so far ahead of the rest of us in how you think about leadership and leadership development…it takes the rest of us a while to catch up and really GET that you had a point”.
So what’s the strength that you’ve been denying?
My next step is to figure out how I am going to package this uniqueness; what my vision is for leadership development, with me blazing yet another trail - watch this space.
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