Anders Ericsson

In domains like music, sports, where there’s a lot of individual training, you see the ratio between training and performance. You probably perform less than 1% of the time that you spent training. Whereas in business, it’s more like 99% performance and 1% training.

Todd Warner

Leaders want to get better in the here-and-now, not to be judged against a competency map or be sold an abstract theory about what leadership should look like. If you want to become a great leader, become a student of your context — understand your organization’s social system — and mind your routines. Leadership development is more about application than theory.

Stefan De Raedemaecker, Javier Feijoo, and David Jacquemont

Traditional corporate training programs still rely on classroom learning, even though researchers have long found that the classroom alone is a poor fit for adult learning patterns. Most adults instead need a mix of concrete experience, reflective observation, abstract conceptualization, and active experimentation.

Cynthia McCauley

To be effective, every executive needs a broad perspective on both the organization and the business context that it operates within. This perspective can only come from having work experiences in different parts of the organization, in different businesses, and, for global companies, in different parts of the world. Although important, traditional leadership coaching, training, and mentoring programs—which most companies have focused on in their … [ Read more ]

Cynthia McCauley

Organizations must have systems in place to allow temporary assignments, and opportunities for people to take on work that’s not part of their official jobs, in order to keep people from hoarding talent or blocking its development. Leader development won’t succeed if the organization sets it up to be the responsibility solely of the talent management function within HR. It needs to be the joint … [ Read more ]

Peter Drucker

There’s a human law that says that the gap between the one at the top and the average is a constant. And it’s terribly hard to work on that huge average. You work on the few at the top, and you raise them, and the rest will follow.

Christopher Bartlett

The philosophy of case teaching, discussion-based learning, is really that by gathering together a group of smart capable people; presenting them with the kinds of challenges that a manager would face once in a year or once in a lifetime; doing that on a regular basis, 2-3 times a day; and getting them to go through the process that managers do—gathering the data and analyzing … [ Read more ]

Randall Beck

Companies waste a lot of time when they try to set up a development plan to make people become someone they’re not.

Peter Cappelli

U.S. companies are extraordinarily sophisticated about virtually all aspects of their supply chains—except when it comes to labor. They regularly calculate whether it makes more sense to build or buy components, for example, but seem completely stymied by the idea that training a workforce could be an option.

Peter Drucker

Developing talent is business’s most important task—the sine qua non of competition in a knowledge economy.

Douglas Conant

If you’re asking people to do extraordinary things, they have to see you leaning in to help them learn and grow. Otherwise, your message will fall on deaf ears over time.

Vadim Liberman

The typical U.S. company spends nearly fifty times more to recruit a $100,000 executive than it will invest in his annual training.

Aaron DeSmet, Monica McGurk, and Elizabeth Schwartz

Adults learn in predictable steps. Before employees can master a new skill effectively, for example, they must be convinced it will help improve their organization’s performance, recognize that their own performance is weak in that area, and then actually choose to learn. Yet most corporate training programs overlook these prerequisites and just assume that employees “get it.” This approach is a big mistake because it … [ Read more ]

Amy C. Edmondson

An exclusive focus on execution-as-efficiency leads companies to delay, discourage, or understaff investments in areas where learning is critical. It’s a given that switching to a new approach can lower performance in the short run. The fastest hunt-and-peck typist must endure a short-term hit to performance while learning to touch-type, just as the tennis player suffers initially when shifting to a new, better serve. These … [ Read more ]

Morgan McCall, Jr.

Leadership development is ensuring “that people in leadership roles have the competence to determine and to carry out the [company’s] strategic imperatives. If competence is acquired through experience, then it is the strategy of the business that determines which experiences are necessary to build it. The crucial links . . . are from the business strategy to the leadership challenges it suggests to the experiences … [ Read more ]

John H. Fleming and Jim Asplund

In hiring and managing individual employees, it’s important to understand what is difficult to change (talent) and what is more easily changed or acquired (knowledge and skills). Once you hire someone, you are largely stuck with their talents, whereas you can still impart new skills and knowledge. Without a clear understanding of these two different aspects of ability, you will have an incomplete picture of … [ Read more ]

Ellen M. Balaguer, Peter Cheese and Christian Marchetti

As the best professional investors know, it’s not how much you invest that helps you outperform the market, it’s where and how you invest. The same principle applies to workforce performance. By differentiating workforce investments, and by tailoring those investments to critical jobs and roles, high-performance organizations in both the public and private sectors get a bigger bang for their buck in the form of … [ Read more ]

Judith Martin, aka Miss Manners

I sincerely hope that we’re seeing the end of retreats. This personalization of business relationships is misguided. For one thing, it’s expensive to have people climb poles or shoot at one another with paint guns. But the more depressing thing is that it’s taken us half a century to realize that when you remove everybody’s inhibitions, you create more problems than you solve. Regrettably, the … [ Read more ]

Charles Kettering

The biggest job we have is to teach a newly hired employee how to fail intelligently. We have to train him to experiment over and over and to keep on trying and failing until he learns what will work.

Charles Handy

Education for adults is basically experience understood in tranquility. In other words, you have the experience and then you can go away to a place of tranquility like a school or a course and reflect with the help of people who give you some concepts on what you’ve learnt or what you’ve experienced. Then you go off and do it hopefully better next time. And … [ Read more ]