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Face The Challenge - Sample Section, Chapter 9

Chapter Nine - Training

"Training" evaluates how this critical ingredient to leadership effectiveness contributes to every Leader's "secret" success formula; analyzing the depth and quality of the Leader's personal involvement in employee training programs that is absolutely essential to improving his or her effectiveness; and details the specifics of an effective leadership or employee training program that are fundamental to improving operational proficiency and the Leader's training effectiveness.


9.1 Doing It Right the First Time.  The organizational arena should not be regarded as a practice field whereupon activities are halfheartedly undertaken simply for the learning experience or with the thought that things will be done correctly the second or third time around, as "…nothing is ever done twice…" (Patton).  Consequently, Leaders must do everything within their power to ensure that whatever objective their Subordinates undertake that it is successfully accomplished with everyone's full commitment and maximum effort on the first assault.  As uninspired practice runs waste both time and resources and will completely disenchant or exasperate the Leader's more serious-minded Subordinates.  While indifferent or cursory endeavors most frequently fail, and the lessons purportedly learned are generally of very limited value for improving future performance; as the outcome of an ardent, whole-hearted attempt continues to remain a mystery.  And seldom do future circumstances so closely resemble those of the past as to cost justify an uninspired failure as a "learning experience," or provide enough pertinent information to guarantee that a substantially similar—though more intense—effort will be prove to be any more successful.  (Patton).


(A) Most pathetically, a summary dismissal of Subordinate failures as development is quite often merely a feeble attempt to put an acceptable label on an unacceptable outcome which more often than not has resulted from a Leader's blasť, laid-back attitude, or gross incompetence.  For if the Leader watched from the security of his or her executive bunker fully expecting that his or her ill-prepared Subordinates would never make it through "no person's land" to the objective, it is not his or her Subordinates who have failed to pass muster, but the Leader.


(B) However, any unwarranted urgency to accomplish an assignment is often fraught with inadequate preparation, a lack of commitment, or insufficient resources; and consistently produces an unsatisfactory outcome, the resolution of which many times requires far more work than if the action were more prudently undertaken at the get go.  But Leaders who lack the commensurate experience or educational background to adequately assess a situation frequently underestimate the parameters or depth of the challenge and regularly fail due to incomplete or inadequate planning.  These Leaders are also prone to overlook or ignore the wisdom of contingency planning or to simply fail to make realistic projections; being repeatedly caught flatfooted when circumstances beyond their knowledge or control rudely disrupts their complacency or misguided optimism.


(C) Doing it right the first time is not only resource conservative, but is often critical to achieving the objective at a reasonable cost; as rarely can even the most accomplished Leaders arouse the same level of enthusiasm in their Subordinates for a second try or "go at it" as they generated for the first.  For industrious Subordinates normally put forth their best effort each time they assume a challenge and become exceedingly frustrated when such efforts fail due to a lack of commitment or diligence by others.  And just as an author can never fully recover the vital essence of a page that he or she has labored over for several hours after a computer crash, serious-minded Subordinates are unlikely to effectuate the same level of determination or creativity for the rework as they expended for the original production.


(D) And though the exhortation that: "a pint of sweat will save a gallon of blood," may have helped General Patton earn his rather disparaging sobriquet of "Old Blood and Guts," this attitude toward training and operational proficiency helped to save thousands of soldiers' lives; and is well emulated by all those who aspire to a place in the Leadership Hall of Fame.

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© Copyright 2006 by H. Garrett Hayward from Face the Challenge: The Leader's Success Handbook