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Are training courses enough to develop good leaders?

You can take a lot of courses and understand the concepts, but real learning only happens through experience. We mislead people by telling them, “Take these courses, jump through these hoops and then if you're lucky, it might kind of work out.” It will work out for some, but it's not clear whether those individuals succeeded because of the pre-structured training materials. People that start their career in consulting frequently find themselves in management roles because they've had a number of different engagements with different clients. They've been thrust into a variety of problems and teams. But I could argue that someone that reaches VP level in a Fortune 2,000 company by working their way up the chain has more experiential learning than someone who reaches that level by moving around and having positions in three other companies. I've seen people go off and get executive MBAs, hoping to come back and take on significantly broader roles within a company. But when they come back, they carry a lot of baggage. People remember them as the person that cleaned up the warehouse system. Now they want to be VP of all datacenter operations, and with an MBA they can probably do that at some other company, but most of the execs at their current company don’t think of them that way.

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You can take a lot of courses and understand the concepts, but real learning only happens through experience. We mislead people by telling them, “Take these courses, jump through these hoops and then if you're lucky, it might kind of work out.” It will work out for some, but it's not clear whether those individuals succeeded because of the pre-structured training materials. People that start their career in consulting frequently find themselves in management roles because they've had a number of different engagements with different clients. They've been thrust into a variety of problems and teams. But I could argue that someone that reaches VP level in a Fortune 2,000 company by working their way up the chain has more experiential learning than someone who reaches that level by moving around and having positions in three other companies. I've seen people go off and get executive MBAs, hoping to come back and take on significantly broader roles within a company. But when they come back, they carry a lot of baggage. People remember them as the person that cleaned up the warehouse system. Now they want to be VP of all datacenter operations, and with an MBA they can probably do that at some other company, but most of the execs at their current company don’t think of them that way.
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