The most evident observation that can be made is that significant numbers of executive branches in many companies were not ready for the current economic crisis. The $64,000 question is this: are they ready for the aftermath?
Although most executives I meet do not care for the analogy, if you look at a military operation, officers are trained consistently and repeatedly. They are trained again and again for the entire life of their service. The thought process is that ongoing preparation is the only way to condition them to be ready at all times. Another example can be seen with football teams who do not stop training and developing their players based on the team’s win/loss record. A key part of being ready is to invest in training & development. Training and development is what keeps the team competitive.
So why then does Corporate America relate to the training of its leaders and executives as a monetary option and not as a strategic necessity? Is this not at the core of the issue?
In my opinion, I think Corporate America is far from ready for the aftermath. Training is not a financial issue, but fundamental and strategic. We have all heard the saying, “Practice makes perfect.” Can you imagine what would happen to the quality of leadership if leaders and executives were to practice the art of leadership more often?
I have heard more times than I can count companies proclaiming, “We will start training again when business starts to pick up.” This is a dangerous approach because if you are not investing in developing your leadership team now, they will not be ready for what is to come. The military does not stop training in war time; the opposite, in fact, is true: they intensify training.
My assertion is that most executive branches in Corporate America were trained and developed in booming economic times, which made many of them unable to deal with breakdowns i.e. “bad news”. It is not that they were unwilling to; it is just that they were not conditioned and trained appropriately, and as we have seen, they have often responded ineffectively as a result.
The training and development of an organization’s leadership team is the most critical element in order to prevail in times of crisis and to excel in the emerging economy.
Remember, your products and services do not make your management team, your management team is what drives your products and services.