According to leading business research firm McKinsey, organizations spend $14 billion annually on leadership development. In this 2014 article titled “Why Leadership Development Programs Fail,” they go on to provide four reasons why such programs don’t work, including lack of context and measuring results, lack of connection to real work and underestimating mindsets of the learners.
That is a whole bunch of money to waste, when leadership fundamentals are really pretty simple.
I recently joined a community chorus. (Hang on, I’ll get to the leadership fundamentals but I have to set the context first.) I live in a relatively small historic town with lots of tourists but not as many locals. I love to sing, and when I saw the ad to join the chorus, I thought a nice, easy community chorus would work well with my otherwise busy schedule. I was a music major. I can sight read, so this’ll be a breeze.
Boy, was I wrong…about the easy, breezy part anyway. I walked into a room of 120 volunteer musicians and picked up nine choral scores. Most pieces changed keys 5-6 times. Several split four-part harmony into eight parts. I guess this Community Chorus has stayed active and popular for 70 years because they have something special to offer. Okay, time to roll up the top of my piano and practice.
But here’s where the leadership fundamentals come into play. In eight weeks, the Director has taken a group of volunteers, some of whom cannot read music, and created a spectacular presentation – at least it will be in three weeks when we present the concert “I Hear America Singing.” I know it will be great, because the Director is leaving us no choice but to excel. And I find that an endearing motivation. (more…)