Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Article Type: Editorial From: Development and Learning in Organizations: An International Journal, Volume 29, Issue 1
Welcome to our first issue of 2015.
In the field of learning and organizational development, are we too often looking for the latest innovation or the latest model? Maybe so, as we can then demonstrate we are on trend and up to date and put our names against a new project, process or policy. A problem with rushing to find the philosopher’s stone, however, is that we might miss the diamonds that have been winking at us every day, obscured by the morning dew. So, in beginning a New Year, please accept an invitation to take a “new” look at a few things you might think you already know well enough. Who knows, you might find the perfect diamond for your organization.
As ever, our New Year Viewpoint asks us to pause and reflect on something that might make a positive contribution to how we experience the coming months. If you are tired of sitting through interminable meetings where people fail to listen to each other, where point scoring is the strongest undercurrent and where little is achieved during or after, then turn to (pages 3-6). Jenny Nabben combines the familiar element of emotional intelligence (EI) together with the, perhaps, less well known element of a “Thinking Environment” to show how leaders can positively influence those around them. Her summary of the ten components that create a “Thinking Environment” is particularly useful.
The vast majority of large organizations continue to invest significant amounts of money into Leadership Development, often involving or partnering with a university or business school. However, the relationship between academia and business does not always run smoothly. Based on their extensive experience, Mark Haskins & James Clawson outline their Charter for Custom Executive Education programs (pages 7-10), through which both sides can establish and maintain a common understanding of what they are collectively trying to achieve; from agreeing the vision all the way through to operational goals.
Yet another arena that has been around for a long time and requires significant investment is that of knowledge management (KM). In addition, it is also one that is criticized for providing insufficient returns on investment. Dennis Self, Terry Self, Tish Matuszek and Mike Schraeder, however, summarize how linking KM practices (such as the balanced scorecard) with strategic thinking can make a positive contribution to achieving ongoing organizational alignment (pages 11-14).
Having seen and heard much about the “war for talent” over the past 15 years or so, we are offered a different perspective from Carrie Foster (pages 15-19). She considers talent in a more holistic way as something that “flows” through organizations. Her model asks us to consider five different types of talent, as well as contemplating this “boundary-less” notion, where, for instance, managing talent out of the business might be a good thing. Developing people to help them change sides? Now that would be an interesting war.
A word that has been around even longer is “lean”. Created to describe a very different way of manufacturing at Toyota some 25 years ago, Michael Ballé, Jacques Chaize and Daniel Jones share their insights (pages 20-23) on the key ingredient to getting the most from a lean strategy – a particular approach to learning. Their descriptive table of the behaviors you will see from managers in an environment of “inclusive” versus “exclusive” learning will have many nodding vigorously in recognition.
Our review articles continue the theme of something “new” in something “old”, beginning with “Setting your mind on mentoring” which explores the characteristics needed for a mentee – newly appointed school principals – to gain the maximum benefit from a mentoring relationship. In “This is knowledge – pass it on”, we move to medical education to examine the impact that graduates on a year-long leadership development program had on their workgroups. Third, if you have ever read John Gray’s book “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus”, the last review article, “Training Venusians or Martians” shares research from Germany which reveals that there is also a gender difference in the relationship between training and job satisfaction.
Finally, looking forward to our Special Issue later in 2015, we will be exploring whether “leadership” is something that can be taught through higher education and whether it could become a recognized profession. An intriguing question as so many universities are shifting their focus away from “management”. Look out for more details in the next issue.
Anne Gimson is based at Strategic Developments International Ltd, Abergavenny, UK. E-mail: mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org