Training Day @ Starbucks

Wasn’t there a movie called Training Day? Well, we could make another one today as Starbucks closes 8,000 stores to “train” employees in unconscious bias.

The article on MSN quoted the consultant who developed and will deliver the training as saying “the real work is for employees to apply what they learn in their everyday lives. She likened it to exercising a muscle.” I’m glad at least the consultant understands that one half day of “training” will not necessarily change behavior.

What about the leadership? Do they recognize that the cultural infrastructure also must change? What about the employees hired tomorrow and beyond? Will the urgency of the Philadelphia situation fade over time, and everything go back to “normal?”

What about a different approach?

What about developing the skill of leadership to hire, observe, coach and, if necessary, counsel their employees about appropriate behavior in front of customers. After all, every situation is different, and every situation has the chance of going south as the unfortunate situation in Philadelphia went south. (more…)

I was a female Marine in the 70s

Back then we were called Women Marines, WMs or BAMs. We told ourselves that BAM stood for Beautiful American Marine, but we knew better. I was assigned a 0102 MOS [that’s military occupational specialty] as a Personnel Officer.

When I arrived at my first duty station in the Mohave Desert, I was introduced around the headquarters building, where I would be working. A crusty Lieutenant Colonel called me aside and handed me a business card. It said, “I’ve had a vasectomy.” I had just been through a few months of hell where us Second Lieutenants were put in fear of senior officers and taught to do as we were commanded. Thankfully, I had the strength to say “thank you,” and walk on.  Then I went back to my quarters and cried.

After a few weeks, I received a phone call at work from the President of the Officers’ Wives Association. She said that several people saw me eating lunch with one of the Marine Officers (who happened to be my boss) in the Officers’ Club. She suggested that I should refrain from doing that in the future. She didn’t say why. She didn’t have to. (more…)

Develop Leaders or Develop Leadership?

develop leaderI am often blown away by the sheer volume of entities who provide “leadership development.”  How would a conscientious buyer know where to start?

Here is a start: decide if you want to develop leaders, or develop leadership.

Do you want to develop the skills and competencies of individual leaders? Or do you want to develop the leadership of your team?  Both are important, but they are different.

The skill sets of individual leaders in most organizations run the gamut from novice to expert, and the knowledge and competence required at higher levels of leadership grow exponentially. What a young front line leader needs to know and do is very different than what a director over multiple and varied units needs to know and do. Leadership skills should build from the bottom up.  It doesn’t make sense to use leadership learning materials designed for C-Suite executives when preparing to be a manager. (more…)