I promise that this isn’t a rant that I’m on this week. It’s just that I haven’t finished with McKinsey Quarterly’s article on Why Leadership Development Programs Fail. If it turns into a rant I know you’ll tell me.
Another surprise I had on the list of reasons that programs fail is that there is a difficulty of changing mindsets. This is something I hadn’t thought out fully although Mike Tobias of Mercanix has been bending my ear on the subject for several months.
I’m not sure about whether this is silly or not to put on the list. After all, changing mindsets is the purpose of leadership development programs. If you don’t change leadership mindsets then what are you doing?
To say that these programs fail because it is hard to change mindsets, is the same as saying that people fail at math because it is hard. That’s why the training is there in the first case. If changing mindsets was easy then people would do it just cuz someone said so.
The thing is, I don’t think that the purpose of training should be to change mindsets. It should be to make people aware of other ways of thinking and to give them an opportunity to change if they so desire. Training can change skills but changing behaviour doesn’t work that way.
Perhaps that’s why leadership development programs are problematic to begin with.
If this blog seems confusing then I’m not surprised. I’m trying to attack this issue of changing mindsets and I’ve got myself into one of those circuitous agruments that can be tormenting. If I manage to unconfuse myself, I’ll let you know.