Proceedings on education and training for leaders, managers, and all those invested in the success of their people

Original post from http://www.andrewdwelch.com at http://www.andrewdwelch.com/2010/03/proceedings-on-education-and-training.html

Leaders, managers, and all those invested in the success of their people would do well to indulge themselves in last month’s (February 2010) “Education and Training” issue of Proceedings from the U.S. Naval Institute (on Twitter@navalinstitute). I make this recommendation broadly, as I find many of the lessons learned to be quite applicable to many organizations (in and out of uniform), businesses, and agencies. Proceedings is, by far, my favorite regular publication, not just thanks to its smart global outlook, but thanks also to its consistently insightful take on topics of importance to the leader. I find the regular spotlight on education and training to be particularly engaging because I fundamentally believe that great organizations are built upon the success of their people, and that leaders become great because they invest in the development of those people. I quote from an assortment of February’s pieces below.

On the dichotomy of academic achievement and dedication to selfless service leadership, whereas I say that institutions that blend the two prepare their students for greatest success…

“Elite civilian institutions expound academic achievement and upward mobility, not the ideals of leadership, selfless sacrifice, dedication, perseverance, and integrity that are ingrained at our nation’s academies and war colleges.”

Agree? Disagree? Read the rest from “Nobody Asked Me But…Military Education is a Real Deal.

On the importance of training and educating your charges so that they may be trusted with authentic authority and meaningful responsibility…

“Limiting authority leads to its deterioration that eventually extends to all ranks. As junior petty officers advance, these traits follow them and creep up the chain of command. Eventually, juniors only recognize the authority of higher and higher ranking grades, or worse yet, only in the wardroom. Concurrently, as less and less authority is exhibited, performance and leadership decline, and seniors are convinced to limit authority even further.”

How do you vest meaningful responsibility in your junior people, a la “Reviving Authority?

On the value of being a “learning organization” that invests heavily in education so as to create an elite leadership class of deep strategic thinkers…

“…the British Army [of the 1900s] had become an institution that ignored most everything that characterized modernity because it had become an army too busy to learn. Success, promotion, and public acclaim came with active service in a series of popular and not terribly stressful imperial campaigns against native peoples throughout the empire. Time spent in the staff college was time wasted.

“Service schools produce two classes: students and instructors. Students graduate with knowledge, valuable to be sure. But instructors return to the force with the wisdom accumulated from long-term immersion in a subject and an amplified appreciation of the art and science of war that comes from time to reflect, teach, research, and think.

“Our culture has changed to value and solely reward men and women of action. Just like their British antecedents, the personnel system rewards active service, not demonstrated intellectual merit.”

I distill several guiding principles, applicable to all, from the article, “Too Busy to Learn,” quoted above:

  • Develop a lifelong obsession with reading history and studying the art of [insert your profession or passion here];
  • Immerse yourself in foreign environments, learning and being enriched by those people, organizations, and ways of operating that are different from your own;
  • Seek and learn from partnerships; work in different fields, departments, offices, agencies that (while most likely adjacent or related to what you do) are a stretch from your regular pursuits.

Finally, “start by building a bench,” nothing that “Any holistic effort at reform must start by rewarding and selecting those with the greatest intellectual gifts.”

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