A Critical Distinction
e.l.solutions does not do leadership ‘training’ –
e.l.solutions provides leadership ‘development’.
The essence of what needs to happen to create more effective leaders cannot be trained, not in the traditional sense. It must be brought out from within.
Our Signature Style is the breakthrough leadership development process that is the missing piece in most traditional training approaches.
The traditional approach to leadership ‘training’ often begins by identifying the most effective and inspiring leaders, those who are already producing the best results. The next step is to systematize what they are doing to produce such good results. Then managers are brought in to training classes and told what they need to do to be better leaders.
Think about someone from your own experience that is already an exceptional leader, one of the top 10-20%. Someone that people simply want to be around, want to do things for, and would apply themselves fully for. What was it about those individual leaders that distinguish them from the average manager?
Over the last fifteen years of asking this question of over 20,000 managers, 75-80% of the responses are attitude-based rather than skill-based. Most of the answers revolve around traits like: caring, thoughtful, walking-the-talk, honesty, openness, listens, integrity, learn from their mistakes, supportive, etc. While there are skills inherent in many of these characteristics, they are first a function of where someone comes from. Those we consider to be “natural” leaders don’t refer to a checklist when they are faced with a situation. These “natural” leaders do the right things more often than not as a function of who they are — their being.
The traditional approach to training leaders has been to tell them/teach them the right things to do. Following even the best training’s, using the traditional ‘telling’ approach, people will revert back to where they come from. It is only when where they come from changes that managers will more naturally choose the right things to do, just like the best leaders do already.
Our experience continues to validate the belief that this distinction holds the key to why so many people go right back to the same old way of doing things so soon after even the best of the traditional training approaches. People reverting back to the same old way is a given - to the degree that the being, the core mindset, hasn’t changed.
A client noticed that their field operations team’s productivity wasn’t what they desired. They took the tradition approach and brought in an outside consultant to study the activities of their field operations team.
The study revealed that most of the team’s time was engaged in the daily activities that were least likely to achieve their goals. We were asked to tell their people what they needed to do, and then get them to do it.
A couple of questions clarified that the outcome the company wanted was increased productivity from their field operations teams.
How their desired outcome was achieved provides an insight into what is unique about our Signature Style and why it is so effective.
Our approach was to ask the teams what activities they found themselves engaged in that were taking most of their time. These activities were captured on flip charts.
The next step was asking them to vote for which of the activities were taking most of their time. With this prioritization established, the top vote getters were entered on a PowerPoint in the left column.
The next question was, “Of all of the activities you engage in daily, which ones are more likely to improve effectiveness?” These were also captured on flip charts and then prioritized. That list was entered on the right column of the PowerPoint.
Putting those two lists on the screen we asked, “What do you notice about the lists?”
The response was immediate, “We’re putting too much of our time on the wrong things!”
From your personal experience, if they had been told that they were putting too much of our time on the wrong things, what is the likeliness that they would have gotten defensive and resisted? Would you have gotten defensive?
Instead, they asked themselves, “How do we turn this around?” The next 20 minutes was a heated sharing of ways that some team members had already figured their way around the obstacles.
This approach supports a basic premise to all of our work – that all the answers any team needs are already in the room. The first essential shift in thinking is going from telling to asking.
The second shift is in the quality of the questions being asked. Another basic premise of our work is that the quality of the answers you are currently getting is a reflection of the quality of the questions currently being asked.