PUTTING THE CART BEFORE THE HORSE

At the start of 2014 I am on record as questioning the direction of management development and training within Australia. I wrote several articles on the subject and was quite outspoken regarding my views.

The basis of my concern revolved around the topic of leadership which has been become the forefront of business education with massive marketing directed to organisations to convince them this was the path to produce leaders for the future.

The majority of programs available have been traditionally directed at senior personnel and not necessarily for middle managers. The fundamental principles surrounding managing a business and oneself are being bypassed at the expense of creating perceived leaders who are not ready to assume the mantle of leadership.

Of course today we need to identify leadership more than ever before both in and out of business but it seems we want to eliminate an important element of the process.

Our efforts should be directed at developing managers to establish broadened skill bases enabling them to cope with an increasing requirement to manage circumstances not previously part of the business landscape. E.g. .how to handle the growing mobility of labour and adoption of a global mindset being just two of the many challenges which have emerged.

Whilst holding those personal strong views the weakness in my argument was that I had no tangible facts (apart from what I witnessed on the frontline) to support what I was saying, my only evidence lay deep in my gut.

Frustrated at not being able to prove my case I spent a sizeable amount of time in 2014 to ascertain the facts with the outcome determining whether I should retreat from my long held position or continue to press to convince people for the need to change.

Embarking on a survey of Owners, Directors and Managers within a range of companies and organisations I requested that they comment on what they wanted to see in the coming year.

The feedback I received was that a good majority were disenchanted in what they were being offered and that it was “same old, same old” material and that they wanted to see innovation being presented. The notion of more manager directed training was welcomed.

It is becoming clear that programs of which I speak need to reflect the times and conditions which business is now experiencing to develop more informed managers ready to assume control of organisations in the coming years. The time clock is now ticking when further significant change will inevitably occur and in eight short years the reins will be handed to another generational group.*

It’s as though we are indulging in a game of brinkmanship to test how far we can go before without taking action. Sounds rather melodramatic but in my experience things like this occur by stealth.

Of course I am aware I may be swimming against the tide of some educators in espousing some of my views.  My experiences and research in 2014 further encourages me to hold on to the baton in the upcoming year and continue to what I believe could deliver better Australian managers and eventual leaders.

All the best for 2015

Ken Wood

 

*2023 denotes the scheduled retirement of the Baby Boomer Generation- 8 years away.