Leadership development outside the classroom

September 20, 2017 by Wally Bock

Leadership development programs include classroom training that’s intended to deliver changed behavior. Far too often, nothing really changes back in “the real world.” In their Smartbrief article, “The “Dirty Fish Tank’ training model and the modern method for developing leaders,” Craig Ross, Angie Paccione and Victoria Roberts, analyze why. Here’s the golden kernel.

“The standard method for developing employees today remains the ‘Dirty Fish Tank’ training model: extracting leaders (or any employee) out of their environment, ‘cleaning them,’ then re-submerging them back into the ecosystem of unchanged practices and policies (the system). Despite overwhelming evidence — and logic — that the model doesn’t work, many organizations still bring out their fish scoops and hope isolating leaders will change the environment and the subsequent result generated by the business.”

If you “train” leaders and then put them back in the same environment without support, not much is going to happen. So, what can you do about it?

Leadership development and carrying learning back to the job

We know what it takes to apply new classroom learning back on the job. Trainees need to identify a single thing to work on and they need an accountability partner of some kind. Many trainers make this the last thing they teach in class. We need every trainer to take this simple step.

Leadership development and developing on the job

When the aspiring leader returns to the job some things need to happen. The aspiring leader’s boss should debrief him or her, review the “one thing,” and agree on a simple action plan for making it happen.

New things of all kinds need protection and new learning is no exception. The boss should protect the aspiring leader’s time and schedule so classroom lessons can be applied at work. Then, the boss should participate in the apply-review-adjust cycle.

Wally Bock is a coach, a writer and President of Three Star Leadership.

Posted in Leadership Development

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