A new year: Nostalgia about moving on and excitement for a fresh start. I can’t help but reflect as step after step I climb on this machine at the gym. The gym in January… what a sight to see. This madhouse certainly doesn’t look like this in March or October.
I digress. Now, I truly believe that everyone wants to accomplish the goals that they set out to achieve, especially when it comes to their New Year’s Resolutions, which is blatantly obvious given the state of my otherwise quiet gym. The fact of the matter is that these people just need some guidance. We all do. You see it’s not that these folks are lazy. If they were they wouldn’t be here in the first place. These folks actually want to get better.
There’s only one problem: The habits they have formed will more than likely keep them from reaching their goals.
When I take a look at the aforementioned hypothesis applied to my business, it seems pretty simple to validate. Regardless of your industry, your employees are people who have already formed habits. Some good and some bad. The challenge: How do you develop your high-potential folks while keeping in mind you cannot scale a human being?
The most common answer I receive when I ask this question? Assessments!
I’ve spent enough time in collegiate and professional athletics to know this isn’t the answer. Coaches literally put their athletes through more tests and assessments than are known to man and still struggle. Why? When you bring the human element into play there is an unknown that we can’t measure! If that were the case, we wouldn’t have the huge talent gap between guys like Kurt Warner and Tony Romo and Ryan Leaf and JaMarcus Russell.
In today’s workplace, we have too many “Monday-morning quarterbacks.” These are the people who are defining the problem, philosophizing the issue, and outlining the need without any intention or agenda to fix the problem, issue, or need. The longer we keep convincing ourselves that we are doing the best we can when it comes to leadership development, the harder it is going to be to get to the destination – effective, 21st-century leadership. If we are not intentionally developing our high-potential emerging leaders, we are intentionally choosing to settle or making it the new normal to accept outdated, ineffective leadership.
Just like my gym’s newbies, we all know the importance of staying active and in shape. While this happens for various reasons and with different motivating factors, people want to make this change because our health affects every aspect of our lives. Developing people in an organization, the lifeblood of a business, is the same concept. While painful and tedious at times, the process in reaching the desired outcome is constantly changing.
This process is difficult. And yes, it will be challenging at times. But just as iron sharpens iron, mediocrity breeds mediocrity.