[Abounding Abundant Ample Ways To Boost Your Growth!]
This may come as a surprise but there are reliable,
effective and powerful ways to improve your ability to learn
If you will allow me to use leadership skills training as
our example, you will see how poor learning forces us to
suffer through any one or more of the following problems:
- leadership training programs usually cost serious money -
in fact, some programs are outrageously expensive
- leadership training programs last for a very short time -
quite a few of them run for only one or two days
- many leadership training programs fail to give students
ways to confidently resolve problem situations or meet and
overcome their daily challenges
- less than 1% of all leadership training programs combine
coaching and mentoring follow-ups with classroom lessons
- most leadership training programs like to do 'raw data
dumps'- the vast majority of them do NOT give you chances to
'blend' your learning experiences with supervised support or
In this article you will discover how to find, use and take
advantage of every kind of performance improvement learning
opportunity you encounter.
You will be able to employ your new knowledge, skills and
competences in highly flexible, more creative and valuable
Power Strategy - 1 -- Be sure you get clearly defined,
significant returns on your training investment!
When you spend your money on a training program, do you want
to be entertained, engaged or educated?
I don't know about your priorities but I know that when I
hand over my hard-earned money, I demand a ton of convincing
that my investment is going to give me a big pay-off.
I expect and want so much more from training than I put into
it. Of course, your training program should and needs to
have some entertaining qualities and even engaging aspects
If you want the temporary benefits of watching an action
adventure movie or taking a walk in the park then go for it.
However, if you desire to see your career or business
blossom and grow stronger, your training investment must
deliver more than a mere 30% or 60% payback [I suggest you
look for programs that guarantee you returns of 100-300%].
Power Strategy - 2 -- Spend your money to make more money!
In the First Strategy I recommended that you to seek
guaranteed returns on your investment. With that said, you
must of course realize, that you do need to actually invest
your money so that you can get a return on it!
What am I saying? I am not telling you to spend all of your
money for leadership, creativity or other skills training. I
am advising you to make wise investments of your money. So
what does that mean?
Wisdom says you need to look at every training program as a
continuing investment in both your current and future
performance. So doesn't it make sense to you that you need
to pay for any training program that operates on a
The price of your training program should mirror your 3
expectations for the returns you will receive through
investing in the program:
1) The price must be reasonable for the amount of learning
and growth in knowledge, know-how and competences you can
expect to achieve
2) The price should be based on your desire to pay for those
incremental benefits in terms of the performance
improvements and tangible results you are likely to receive
from your training program over that period of time
3) The price has to be a realistic, accurate and measurable
reflection of those resources which are actively committed
to the support of your progress.
Power Strategy - 3 -- Grasp a telescopic view of your
We already looked at the continuing nature of training. Do
you believe that learning is a lifelong exercise?
If so, how do you expect to learn anything of lasting value
in just 1, 2 or 3 days [in most cases less than 6 hours a
day of actual training]?
For instance, many leadership training programs feature
short term exposures to the complex job of analyzing issues,
evaluating potential solutions and assessing the
effectiveness of your decisions.
I wonder how you are supposed to master the diverse arts,
concepts, practices, principles, laws and processes of
leadership in 18 or less hours?
In those kinds of workshops and seminars, you are told that
you will come away from the classroom with an in-depth
understanding of 15 or 20 topics - yeah, sure you will!
By now, it should be obvious to you that the most effective
leadership training requires LONG-TERM continuous, devoted
and caring support, frequent follow-ups and candid
assessments from your training provider.
Power Strategy - 4 -- Get the most that you can out of every
I can hear you talking to yourself - you're thinking that
you only need to get the most out of everyday you
participate in a training class, aren't you?
Since you have spent your money on a training class, you
would be foolish not to get the most from that investment.
However, I would like you to consider the fact that everyday
that you're alive is a day for learning, practicing, judging
and mastering new skills, knowledge and principles.
If you maintain a daily log book, a diary or journal, you
should strive to write down your learning-oriented
You would use your journal to enter the principles, skills,
and new knowledge [the applicable, relevant and practical
information you discovered - not just mere facts and figures
but useful, valuable and profit-producing know-how].
That's why police officers and crafts persons keep their
notebooks - it's how you too could reinforce and strengthen
your confidence, and deepen as well as broaden all your
Power Strategy - 5 -- Be open to being helped!
Many times, people in leadership training hold the mistaken
belief that only their teachers know how to help them learn
leadership skills and principles.
If someone wants to weave you some holy tale of how only
other leaders can show you the 'ropes' or that only those
buttoned-down, up-and-coming junior executive-types can show
you how to charge into the fray and take no prisoners then
you're in for a surprise.
Not everyone who has an elaborate title, holds some exalted
position or who have gone before you knows how to lead or
knows what they're doing in this new age of knowledge - so
you can forget all the myths and nursery stories right now!
When you break free from assumptions like those mentioned
above, you will see how people operating in various walks of
life and those working in different professions or sectors
of the economy from yours can and will add rich, colorful
textures to your tapestry of leadership.
Helpers of all sorts can contribute to your understanding of
their cultures, operational paradigms and traditional
practices - these people can be found all around you.
How can your peers, subordinates and other so-called
ordinary people empower your leadership development?
It's your task to question them, observe their behaviors,
listen to their experiences and after doing all those
things, to learn how.
Power Strategy - 6 -- Reach out, grab a golden ring of
In this crazy world of chaotic change, dizzying choices and
the sifting sands of normal operating conditions, we need to
reach for the certainty and assuring comfort of others.
The journey towards leadership maturity may begin with a
single step but you'll need a thousand more things to carry
you along your way.
Your leadership adventure will have to be fueled by
sustenance of many kinds:
- A written record of your challenges and encounters will
help you stay focused and empowered
- Encouraging fellowship, engaging interactions and edifying
exchanges with your fellow travellers will maintain your
sanity and stability
- Confessional and consultative sessions with your trusted
advisers will strengthen your resolve and faith
- Daily inspirational readings and pep-talks will energize
you and feed your soul
- Meditations and prayers will uplift your spirit and enable
your inner being to soar with wings of eagles
Power Strategy - 7 -- Take your acting cues from the
In essence, a coach is like the director of a motion picture
- coaches prompt, instruct, direct and intensely encourage
us to move towards our goals.
You have a better chance of becoming the leader you were
destined to be with a coach, counselor or mentor keeping
watch over your advancement and working alongside of you.
Of course you still need a structured course of learning and
teachers who can help increase your knowledge and tutor you.
Coaches and mentors instill a sense of accountability in
you, they will keep the bar raised and stand beside you so
that you become accustomed to striving for the highest
In your development as a leader, coaches and mentors will be
instrumental in helping you examine yourself and assess your
performance candidly and rigorously.
After a time, you will come to see your counselor, mentor
and coach as the person who enabled you to see the true
meaning of reaching for the prize.
Most successful people agree that these kinds of approaches
to personal and professional development work precisely
because they themselves became world-class leaders through
using techniques, tools and resources like the ones you just
Change management expert, Holger Nauheimer, explains how our
dynamically-charged, ever-shifting, global-landscape, calls
for a new spirit of development, "in which individuals, the
members of organizations, experience self-determination and
personal growth - and participate in creating a world around
them to which they want to belong."
Recently reported results in the Wharton School's Leadership
Digest, of a comprehensive study of leadership failures, the
following recommendations were given to help promising
leaders avoid potential pitfalls: their findings suggest
three primary things learners and their trainers should do -
- "Create development plans and opportunities for promising
- Reflect carefully on their own experiences and, throughout
the course of their careers, seek out opportunities to
develop their context skills;
- Determine the level of support they'll need from their
predecessor, and perform an intense self-assessment to
determine what other organizational support they will need"
Experienced firefighter, Lynn Biddison, says the number one
priority for new leaders is: "Establish a rigorous training
plan for [yourself and] your people"
The last but most important "Power Strategy" I wish to share
with you is this -
Be sure to energetically increase the richness, texture,
luster, power and scope, depth, capacity, value-added,
quality and competences of your skills and knowledge
developmental experiences on a daily basis!
Seek out and find only those training programs that will
help you achieve the goals of these 7 Power Strategies and
you will make abounding, abundant and amply laudable
contributions to your own success, your community,
organizations and our world.
Mustard Seed Investments Inc. Copyright ? 2004, All rights
Bill Thomas is author of "Your Leadership UltraNet!" - a
LIFE-LONG, Affordable, Performance Enhancement Program,
featuring web-based ULTRA-Comprehensive training, coaching
support and follow-up system that's GUARANTEED to energize
your leadership results.