Remarkable, of course, learning to ride without a bike. You wouldn’t want to expose your kids to this: "Johnny, come, we're going to be taking you on long bike rides a few years from now, so here’s ‘no bike’, so you can get the hang of it." It is so absurd, so strange and at the same time it’s daily practice in our companies and institutions.
Strategic Workforce Planning
A few years back, one of my clients asked me to build and deliver a pilot workshop Strategic Workforce Planning. This workshop would become part of a curriculum for both aspiring and seasoned first-line managers.
The non-mobile expert
One of the participants had chosen this particular workshop, since he’d been promoted to lead a team of experts. He had formulated an ambitious agenda for the years ahead and was pleased that this workshop would provide him the tools to set his people "in motion". There was a dire need for mobility, he pleaded: some of these financial experts had held their job for (sometimes even dozens of) years. He’d like to see them become mobile, be internally, or even externally.
The leader in my workshop leads a team of experts whom are tasked each and every day solely on their expertise and craftsmanship. And they’re appreciated for it, both financially and personally. Our team lead would prefer that professionals in this work context exhibit new and different behaviours.
To exhibit new behaviour in a static context that does not allow, nor encourage the desired behaviour, isn’t that akin to learning to ride without a bike?
Aren’t experts already mobile?
Following an insight, I suggested the team leader to ask his experts what they were proud of, say of their accomplishments in the last weeks. A follow-up question would: "And how do you come to the active ingredient from that situation in the future?"
My inspiration was born from the appreciative sense that experts may already be much more mobile than the team leader is realized. Mobile in the depth of their profession, not in width. Learning and improving in the box, not between disciplines, departments, or organizations.