Saturday, October 30, 2004

Fast Company | 'You Can't Create a Leader in a Classroom.'

This article casts some light on our recent discussion about learning and leadership.

I think we're all talking about the same thing, but from opposite ends. Education is important - even well-known leaders who left school early like Robert Kiyosaki and Kevin Roberts admit this - but it's the right kind of education.

It's about the kind of hunger for learning that just isn't there in the traditional classroom.

Especially interesting is this: "Right now, we are creating a kind of neo-aristocracy," he complains, "a 'business class' that believes it has the right to lead because it spent a couple of years in a classroom."

This is an important point, especially when we take the whole of history into consideration. Up until World War I, hereditary aristocratic power was the main reason for being in charge of the world. Since then, America has replaced the British and other Empires as the predominant world power. As well as that, business and the corporate world has replaced imperial power.

But just as parliamentary and democratic power eventually replaced the Divine Right of Kings, customer and employee power will soon replace the "right to reign" of corporate power. Interesting.

3 Comments:

At 5:45 PM, Blogger Borscht said...

Cogent synopsis -- and thanks for this Simon! (Since I won't have time for the full article).

So true -- that's what I was saying as part of a previous comment -- the Churchills of the world aren't textbook examples on leadership -- I resent how certain texts siphon off a patchwork of pithy Churchill quotes then claim they are using the famous statesmen as an 'example' on leadership. Bollocks!

What you've described here is the creation of leadership forging itself from SITUATIONS -- some more excrutiating than others -- creating completely different kinds of leaders each and every time -- as different as snowflakes - I know you don't get any over in Auckland, but that's another story.

Shame the 'price of entry' these days just to be able to strut your stuff in a leadership capacity is a lousy piece of paper on the wall on a bunch of dumb books every else has read. I dunno, what's better -- leading by numbers, or leading by legacy.

If we choose the latter (leading by legacy) -- better believe you're going to be hearing about these guys in a bookshelf near you.

Guys like Kiysaki opt for the latter -- realising that the stats are stacked in favour of those who'll end up being the shmoes of the world - and peddle their unique brands of education to the masses -- each person dumping $250 on an educational parcel thinking this is the most direct route to shangri-la.

I mean, that's where the real $$$ leadership is.

(Kiyosaki and his ilk may think they're bettering the collective lot, but I dunno...the numbers preach against them)...


My $0.02.

-- AM

p.s. who's going to win this thing?

 
At 6:33 PM, Blogger Simon said...

Just to be further contrary and disagree with you agreeing with me...

I think the syndrome of {worshipping a particular leadership style based on a situation} comes from a lack of comprehensive education.

At least at University (I understand) you get a solid, if boring, overview of the different roles of management and leadership.

On the other hand, one-off seminars and books can be solely based around an individual complete with their idiosyncracies. Churchill is a great example, as seen in the great book "Hitler and Churchill: Secrets of Leadership" ... but there are other culprits too. I have on my shelf "Leadership secrets of Atilla the Hun"! I've never read it, but it just looks great sitting there on the shelf making a statement about me! ;)

What am I saying? That to really learn we need to get an idea of the abstract principles of leadership, but sometimes we need the concrete to start the process. That's where I think traditional education gets it around the wrong way ... we have our greens before the dessert, where we should really just jump into the icecream first (stories of leaders, autobiographies, idiosyncracies) and enjoy the crisp, nutritious greens later (the principles that we can incorporate into our own lives; universal principles).

 
At 7:28 PM, Blogger Borscht said...

My comments on yours:

(and I also think you should write a post Simon about the nature of our blog -- and how it's a leading one -- now there's a blog for ya)


SY -- At least at University (I understand) you get a solid, if boring, overview of the different roles of management and leadership.

AM -- I see. We're going back to the fundamentals thing again. Okay, granted. But then I take the example of someone who is less than "high school" educated. You can either score big in this case, or fail miserably -- if you fail miserably, it's because you've taken in too much of society's shit and lopped on invective. If you do well beyond the wild imagination -- it's because you refused to be restrained by your society's norms -- and you had no education telling you to stop and think and be prudent -- sometimes not having the fundementals helps as well.


On the other hand, one-off seminars and books can be solely based around an individual complete with their idiosyncracies. Churchill is a great example, as seen in the great book "Hitler and Churchill: Secrets of Leadership" ... but there are other culprits too. I have on my shelf "Leadership secrets of Atilla the Hun"! I've never read it, but it just looks great sitting there on the shelf making a statement about me! ;)

AM -- Yes. And this can be a bad thing too. In your example, having one of these, and one of those isn't half-bad. But having too many of one leadership style -- the overreliance on Churchill is dangerous only because the man was such an out and out success -- but also a product_of_his_time. Can it be duplicated -- Bush is surely aiming for that -- remains to be seen what he'll do with his second term.

Here, I am imagining someone like Saddam Hussein -- who modelled his regime after Stalin -- he had books and books about the dictator -- not only that -- he comissioned the "publishing" of a book he'd "penned" about the great man. Who knows...maybe he did?

What am I saying? That to really learn we need to get an idea of the abstract principles of leadership, but sometimes we need the concrete to start the process. That's where I think traditional education gets it around the wrong way ... we have our greens before the dessert, where we should really just jump into the icecream first (stories of leaders, autobiographies, idiosyncracies) and enjoy the crisp, nutritious greens later (the principles that we can incorporate into our own lives; universal principles).

AM -- Nice analogy. Yes. I am all for jumping in.


Great post.

-- AM

 

Post a Comment

<< Home