Where Leaders Learn and 3 Ways To Make It Stick

Out there is your classroom.

I heard this line recently. Not from Ken Blanchard or Jim Collins, but a volunteer at a local nature center as they prepared a group of third graders for their walk  in the woods. Simple words, but a great lesson – especially for leaders.Our Leadership Forest

90% of learning happens outside of a classroom. Yet my feeling is that most leaders have not taken time to sit down and identify their needs and make a plan.  That feeling continues to be reinforced as leaders take my Talent Scorecard.  Based on feedback, less than half of all leadership teams have development plans for all their people.  Without the focus a development plan, I worry that too many learning opportunities for leaders are being missed.

Here are 3 key habits for leaders in their journey to learn:

  1. Build a peer network. Whether it is pay per use like TEC, through your local  chamber, or just with a few key friends – this is a great place to share ideas and struggles. It is also a constant reminder that you are not alone in finding leading being hard.
  2. Build reflection time into your schedule: I can hear the calls now “I will not start a diary.” Taking 20 minutes a week to answer the following questions: What did I learn this week? How did I do with my commitment from last week? Where did I struggle? How can I make one struggle go away next week? Who can I get to help me?
  3. Every 18-24 months, find some help: Most leaders are great at hitting a targt once it is targeted. Having a 360 where input from all of those around you on how you are leading will help paint that target. With a solid development plan in place, any investment in coaching or classroom learning will have a high probability of paying off. (I just read a great posting from a friend, Mary Jo Asmus, on this. Here is the link.)

Out there is your classroom.  Great words for leaders to live by.