The Upside of Failure

Harvey Schachter writes a good column for the Globe and Mail. His last one was about why people fail in careers. It’s worth a good read so I won’t summarize it here. Instead you can read it yourself: article2313473.

Social Learning

I found a good blog post on social_learning_for_a_social_workplace. In particular I like what the blog says at the very end (which I will reprint here as no one reads to the end of anything anymore.)

The key considerations to successful social learning in the workplace are simple:

  1. Enable and empower everyone in your organization to teach and learn at opportune times.
  2. Make learning collaborative and peer-to-peer, crossing department lines and organizational hierarchies.
  3. Make learning on-demand and experience-based.
  4. Combine learning with daily business tasks to create a more integrated learning and working experience.

High-Potential Leadership Programs

It seems there is a general problem out there, both in identifying up and coming leaders and in training them. An article in today’s Globe states that  ” We found that few organizations have a clear handle on the qualities they are looking for, and even fewer can claim that those qualities can be accurately measured. In short, they don’t know if they’re choosing the right people to train as leaders – or whether that training succeeds.”

If you think about it for a second, this is a serious problem. If we found that we spent a lot of money selecting high-potential doctors and then training them and that after all that selection and training we weren’t sure if we had good doctors or whether they were well trained we would sure be concerned. And yet the business world continues to over promote and under train. It may come down to expectations in that somehow, while people expect that you need training in medicine to be a good doctor, they think that you don’t need training in business or leadership to be a good manager.

You can read the full article here.

If you don’t use it you lose it.

I thought that this PeopleSkills.pdf was just on the mark. There is nothing worse than trying to teach somebody something and having them forget it. I remember thinking the same thing while teaching at Schulich. While students typically had to do something up to seven times to learn it for an exam, the type of learning without further reinforcement was of questionable value. Having kept in touch with students for several years after teaching them I was able to assess how much they actually learned. Much to my surprise, I found that if they could use the teaching outside of my classroom shortly thereafter and if they could continue to use it then they remembered it. Otherwise, nothing. One key takeaway for me from that experience was”if you don’t use it you lose it.”