Frankly, I have never understood why most companies have little (if any) interest in their C-level executives after they retire. Presumably many of them would welcome the opportunity to serve as mentors, perhaps in exchange for an extension of full or reduced health insurance coverage and/or a modest retainer. I am curious to know what Kaye thinks about this.
She observes that the issue of development “should always be a top concern of leaders whether the economy is bullish or bearish. At different times, development issues change, but their underlying principles do not. In a good company with a tight labor market, managers need to work hard to recruit and retain the brightest and the best. During a down market, it must be a priority for organizations to continually develop their bench strength by conscientiously and continually growing leaders for the future.”
In this context, I am reminded of a passage in Informal Learning within which Jay Cross observes, “Workers learn more in the coffee room than in the classroom. They discover how to do their jobs through informal learning: asking the person in the next cubicle, trial and error, calling the help desk, working with people in the know, and joining the conversation. This is natural learning – learning from others when you feel the need to do so. Training programs, workshops, and schools get the lion’s share of the corporate budget for developing talent, despite the fact that this formal learning has almost no impact on job performance. And informal learning, the major source of knowledge transfer and innovation, is left to chance.”
If organizations want leadership at all levels and in all areas, then there must be a collective and collaborative effort to “grow” them at all levels and in all areas.
Beverly Kaye is an internationally recognized authority on career issues and retention and engagement in the workplace. Her most recent bestseller is Love ‘Em or Lose ‘Em: Getting Good People to Stay. You are urged to check out the resources at these Web sites: