Friday, November 16, 2012

Learning about Leadership Learning PT2

Another day, another chapter meeting about Leadership

So my second chapter meeting this week was at Golden Gate Chapter. This one was entitled "Leaderality: How to lead with impact" Once again I was tweeting my notes, as was Paul Signorelli and the twitter stream can be found here. For this session Sonny Randall, the 'Leadership Dude' at US Bank facilitated a discussion on Leaders who have had an impact on our lives.

Sonny loves crayons. So he brought a couple of big packs of Crayolla Crayons and some construction paper and we created our own handouts for the class. the first exercise he had us do in the handout was a 'Pop Quiz'
He laid out the rules.
  1. There will be 10 questions
  2. You cannot repeat the answer more than once. (so if we were to decide that the answer we gave to Q3 would be a better answer to Q7 then we had to cross out Q3 and come up with something else for there)
  3. We had 15 seconds to answer each question.

The first question he asked was a simple one "Who are you?" So my answer was "I'm Alan"
Question two got a little harder. it was "Who are you?" This time I wrote "Husband, Improviser, Teacher"
Question three got harder still. This time the question was "Who are you?" My answer here was "WLP Pro". By this point I recognized a pattern.  I'd played this sort of game before. Questions 4-10 followed and I managed to answer them all.
My workbook answers to the "Pop Quiz"

We discussed our answers with other participants. the person I connected with did not like the exercise. I think she felt a bit cheated and 'tricked'

Sonny suggested that the people from our past who inspired us in some way may have had an impact on who we are today. Thinking about that now I see the impact of several people in my own self-description.

Next we got to what i consider the meat of the session. 
Sonny has an equation that he works with

Data + Meaning + Energy + Action = Results

A good leader, says Sonny, must be able to hit on all 4 to get results. Often leaders are good at a couple of those areas but not as strong in others.

This kind of took me back into comments made at Mt Diablo the previous day. I see the Meaning & Energy as the EI components that were discussed there.

One other nugget I want to share with you.

Sonny ran a 4 corners game where we self classified ourselves by moving to one of the 4 corners of the room based on attributes. It was a straight Jungian analyses. He suggested we think of the leaders and others that have inspired us and think which corner they may be in. the chances are that they inspire us because the things that we find hard they seem to do easily. And that could well be because they are different types than we are.
It may well be that the things we find easy, they might find hard. Maybe we inspire them as well.
What a nice thought

Happy Learning

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Learning about Leadership Learning PT1

This week I attended two ASTD Chapter meetings both on the subject of Leadership.

On Tuesday I was out at Mt. Diablo chapter meeting where a panel asked and answered a series of Questions

  • What are the qualities of good leaders?
  • Can they be trained and replicated, or not?
  • Is Leadership Genetic and can it be cloned?

My raw Tweeted thoughts alongside those of fellow attendee Paul Signorelli can be found here.

To me the most interesting question that came out of the discussion was whether Leadership, and great Leadership even more so, can be taught?

Rebecca Morgan was invited to be a part of the panel specifically because she has doubts in that area. She has looked for studies that prove that Taught Leadership has made a difference and can't find any. One of the other Panelists, Kevin Martin, made a clear distinction between Leadership and Management.Managers organize and Leaders inspire. He also was convinced that many of the skills that a Leader needs are the Emotional Intelligence competencies. And he is pretty certain that those skills can be developed in almost anyone. Marci Meaux, the third panelist, raised Vision as one of the key factors of successful leadership. She said that a Leader needs to be able to set a vision that people can see themselves in.

There was a lot of discussion that was highly thought provoking. My take away from the session was that even though it may be true to say that Leadership cannot be taught, it can certainly be learned. It's important to remember that we are not just trainers. We are, or should be, in the field of Workplace Learning and Performance. Performance is the key and training is not always the answer. I call myself a Learning & Development Professional. I am part of the ASTD which I might need to remind folks is the American Society for Training and Development. The Development part of both of those tends to take a back seat behind the Learning or the Training side. But I can't loose sight that developing people is my goal.

I can certainly help people to develop the skills that can make them better leaders. I can help them learn processes to follow to reflect on their own actions and how those impacted the people they lead.  I can't train them to be better leaders but, as a Learning Pro, I can help them learn how to lead better.

I left the meeting with a number of thoughts in my head about Leadership and how Learning Professionals can help Leaders at all levels develop into better people, and better Leaders.

Happy Learning

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Learning from politics

I'm extremely careful normally to keep my professional and personal lives somewhat separate, at least in Social Media terms.
Online I try and keep my professional life in Linkedin and my Personal Life in Facebook.
But as more and more professional organizations that I'm part of move into the Facebook space it becomes harder.
One of the reasons I do this is that I am very aware that my political views are unlikely to be shared by everyone I might want to do business with. In the USA with an election just gone its clear that we are as split as a nation politically as its possible to be. And the partisan conversations are getting more and more vitriolic and just plan mean.

As regular readers will know I became a citizen this year.And so I was very proud to be casting my first ballot for many years. As a learning pro and as a new citizen I feel a certain responsibility to look back at the election and see what lessons can be learned from it.

$3,000,000,000 later and no real difference
It looks like the total cost of this election at Federal, State and local levels across the country will be around 3 Billion dollars. The President is still the President. The Speaker of the House is still the Speaker of the House. The Senate Majority leader is still the Majority Leader.  Yes, a few Senate seats and a bunch of House seats changed parties but I have to wonder if the country got value for money. Both parties are talking about the deficit.  $3B would have been a nice start to paying that down.

Learning Question: What other very expensive learning projects change very little?

Low Engagement of something that is pretty important
Of the Approximately 311 Million people in the USA about 169 million of them are registered voters.
Now I know that there are lots of reasons why you might not be a registered voter. I only became a citizen this year so I know there are lots of non citizens out there. Also that 311M includes about 74M under 18 but even so that still means that some 20M people who could be registered are not. And so even though the winner got 51.4% of 'the popular vote that actually accounts for only 20% of the population. Even allowing for people who can't register to vote it means that more people chose not to vote for any candidate than voted for any individual candidate. A lot more.

Learning Question: What 'Important' learning projects to people really not care about?

Big Data beats wishful thinking.
Nate Silver from the FiveThrityEight blog of the NY times is the main winner out of this election. He called pretty much every race correctly (with the exception of a Montana Senate Seat) by looking at the data. He looked at all the polls and combined them to see bigger numbers. And with bigger numbers the margins of error get smaller. When people on the loosing side of polls critisize them and say that they over or under sample this group or that group, it's a mix of politics and wishful thinking.

Learning Question: Is there important data that we are missing because we don't like the message?

Just some musing from your friendly Learning Pro

Happy Learning