Let the following logic melt in your mouth. On 1st of July an article appeared in the “Sonntagszeitung” on the subject of collective failure of boards, referring to group dynamic traps.
And right in the middle you find this sentence: „It cannot be a problem of education, as the supply of seminars and trainings has grown in the last years.” And these seminars are well on demand, it continues.
„Available quantity“ as a quality criterion for education? “Has attended a seminar and therefore must be prepared for the job”? Can’t be meant seriously, can it?
Further on you read: „So swiss board members do extend their knowledge. But they fail on trivial interhuman factors.”
Thank you for this information. If Goethe and Shakespeare had known, back then, how trivial interhuman factors are, they wouldn’t have bothered with all the scribbling.
The thing is that interhuman factors are not trivial at all. This is where they music does play, or not: to stay effective in the dynamics of a board or a management team, you have to have a solid inner constitution. Self-reflection, integrity, resilience against the temptations of power, money, and prestige, steadfastness, a healthy self-confidence and self-appreciation, empathy, and increasingly what is called spiritual intelligence: the personal requirements are extremely high, and their significance is growing and growing.
And here lies the mistake: it actually is a question of education, indeed.
We cannot afford to blank out the factor “person” of all things when it comes to education and development of leaders. If overall, we are not satisfied with the leadership performance of board members and with the operative quality of leadership in organisations, and at the same time we see the most common reason for failure (the trivial interhuman...), then we should be thinking about how we can include these factors in education.
When it comes to organisational development, most people will agree that a workshop or two will not do, and that we are talking about a process of several years (yes, even in VUCA times). Only in the field of personal development we seem to trust on single experiences of enlightenment. I consider this to be an appallingly risky bet.
You cannot train that? Yes, you can. In the training of humanistic psychotherapy methods it has been done for decades. You can, but certainly not in isolated seminars.
Do I have a better idea? Yes, I think so. I’m afraid it is moderately compatible, for now, as it is opposed to the current development of planning horizons and to the tendency in the market to offer wonder weapons with rapid effects. But I just don’t want it to be up to me. I am ready when you are.
Of course, you have to be careful when it comes to personal development. After all you might find yourself in your deepest feelings which are none of the employer’s business (except if you work for Google, they already know anyway, if you believe the data profiling enthusiasts). But we are just witnessing how private and public life are merging, and how the “trivial interhuman factors” are more and more becoming the key factor for entrepreneurial success.
So it is high time to address the topic, with farsightedness, and in a wise and intelligent way.