How To Fix The System! The Importance Of Systems Thinking In Leadership Training -t6570

Leadership It seems that in every leadership training workshop I attend, I am told, "This is the secret. This is the product, technique, program, software that will save your company." Most of us know that those claims are exaggerated. We also know that no single thing will fix all of our problems. No matter how good the product, if you try to implement it in a flawed system, you will get poor results. No one speaks about systems thinking more clearly than Peter Senge in his book, The Fifth Discipline. He says, "Business and other human endeavors are also systems. They, too, are bound by invisible fabrics of interrelated actions, which often take years to fully play out their effects on each other. Since we are part of that lacework ourselves, it’s doubly hard to see the whole pattern of change. Instead, we tend to focus on snapshots of isolated parts of the system, and wonder why our deepest problems never seem to get solved." Managers try gimmicky programs. They have layoffs, outsource, install new software, hire a new consultant, form a team, etc., etc. While any, or all, of those things may serve a purpose, none will really work to optimize the performance of the organization if executed in isolation. If we dont consider the potential interactions, long-term effects, unanticipated consequences, and so on, we just accumulate programs without really making any substantial progress. We also have lots of clichs about this, Cant see the forest for the trees. Culture is like water to the fish. Look at the big picture We have all thought about and paid lip service to systems thinking. But, seldom do we truly act in ways that will help influence the total system. Leadership training is often no different. An organization with tons of problems decides to conduct a leadership training workshop for all of its supervisors but has no plan for how to integrate the learning into the operation of the company as a whole. It has no real way of assessing, long term, if the skills learned will pay off in improved performance. They have no mechanism for addressing other problems that may be interfering with progress. If things dont start to get better, they will blame the leadership training. A good program might get a bad reputation in spite of its value. Sometimes, companies with extremely strong cultures are terrible when it comes to fixing the system. People can become so immersed in the organizations culture that they cannot see its flaws (Fish in the water). They will, in fact, deflect feedback that could be very useful. Strong cultures can be powerful but they are vulnerable to decay from within. If you start to hear, Thats just not the X way. That is not consistent with our culture. If the answer to the inquiry, Why cant we try this? is, Thats not part of our culture, you are in trouble. While it is tempting to offer leadership training "just because," there are a number of reasons not to do that. If you conduct the training and the participants encounter too many obstacles, they may become overwhelmed and give up. When that happens, you lose the benefit of the training and teach the participants some undesirable lessons. Namely, "Don’t make an effort to learn the skills because you will not be able to apply them anyway." People may even sabotage future sessions by telling participants about their negative experiences. The negative effect may also spill over into other programs. Disappointed participants reason, "If management wasn’t serious about this training, they aren’t serious about any of it." And, it may not just spread to other training but to other important organizational goals as well. So, an excellent leadership training program can actually do more harm than good. Not, because it is the wrong program or because it is not teaching the right skills but because the leaders of the organization have not examined how it fits into the system. They have not been systems thinkers. Whether it is leadership training or any other kind of training, there are certain steps that you should take: Understand the need. Do your homework and be clear about how the skills and concepts will help the organization meet its objectives. Why are we doing this? What are the indicators that prompted you to decide to do the training? If this is a short-term fix, you may want to reevaluate your decision. There should be a compelling reason for taking your key people off line and spending the money to conduct the training. Communicate the need. Dont assume that participants will understand how the training fits into the big picture. Make it clear. Determine how will this impact other parts of the business. The principles and skills learned in the leadership training should be congruent with other initiatives within the company. Dont teach contradictions. Collaborate. Talk to (and listen to) those who are doing the technical skill training, installing new software, creating new sales programs, managing the finances, etc. It should be part of a coherent effort. What is the long-term impact of the training? You should be able to assess the effects of the leadership training in five years or more. Develop a process for measuring this. Dont skimp. Make sure the leadership training is excellent, compelling, and really offers participants skills and concepts that will help them and the organization be successful. Make sure that everyone who will benefit takes the training. Support the participants. Make sure that participants are free from other responsibilities while they are in the training. Little diminishes the effectiveness of leadership training (or any kind of training) more than to have participants constantly on their laptops or their cell phones trying to get all of their work done during class time. It not only undermines their ability to learn, but hurts everyone else in the workshop as well. Follow up. Provide ongoing coaching for the participants. Make sure that there is someone who can answer questions and help each participant put their new skills to work. The more successful they feel, the more gain for the organization. Follow up. Yes, I know I just said that. But, this is really, really important and almost no one does this. Acknowledge success. Make sure that all of your corporate systems support one another. Dont offer leadership training but ignore those skills when doing performance reviews. Dont offer lean manufacturing classes then reward departments who "hoard" inventory. Dont teach quality first then praise teams who beat schedule (but create lots of scrap). Dont offer seminars in work/life balance then glorify heroic effort. Accept feedback. Listen to what participants say about the leadership training and about their experiences in trying to implement what they learned. Act on what you learn. Do what you say you are going to do. While these prescriptions may seem obvious, very few companies do this well. All too often I am asked to facilitate the leadership training when little of this has been done. Under poor conditions, some participants will still benefit as individuals. But, the gain will be for them personally, not for the team or the organization as a whole. It takes some courage to proceed in this way because the effects are often not visible right away. There is a cost to doing leadership training the right way but if executed well, that cost will transform into an investment in the future of the total system. About the Author: 相关的主题文章: