Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Delaying Leadership Training

At Harvard Business Review, Jack Zenger notes a dangerous delay in training leaders. An excerpt:

Practice makes perfect only if done correctly. Practicing for hours doesn't automatically create excellent skills. Say, for instance, that, as an aspiring golfer, you go to the driving range and practice by hitting buckets of balls off into the blue. You may leave feeling you've done something to help you improve, but more than likely you will only have practiced whatever swing you came with — good, bad, or indifferent. But say that when you go to the range you take a more deliberate approach. You draw a circle 20 feet in diameter, move back a bit, and proceed to hit balls until 80% land in the circle. Then you move farther back, take a different club, and do the same thing. That is deliberate, focused, and productive practice. Perfect practice makes perfect performance.


CincyCat said...

My voice coach had similar advice. She said there is no point in practicing if you are simply repeating bad technique over and over. It's far better to slow down, take the time to get the technique correct, then repeat until you can do it at tempo.

She also said there is no such thing as a perfect performance. ;)

Michael Wade said...


Of course, the "no such thing as a perfect performance" remark was made before you'd performed.


Eclecticity said...

Forwarded the article to my boss. It's almost a no-brainer to me. Open management training up to anyone with a supervisory title, unless there are good reasons not to include lower level leaders at a specific session or another. There is so much to be learned from the class materials but so much more to be learned from the veteran managers there. E.

Michael Wade said...


You're absolutely correct. What I find amazing is how often the middle managers are better trained than the executives on many issues. It needs to be stressed that you can't reach an age and then stop learning.