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Developmental Experiences

JLBC: Leadership

JLBC Cadets Reinforce the importance of providing meaningful developmental experiences for JLBC developing leaders. JLBC Cadets The philosophy at Goldman Sachs, however, is more balanced in terms of making use of all three ways of learning:

  1. Learning from formal classes

  2. Learning from other people (mentoring)

  3. Learning on the job (experiential learning)

JLBC Cadets Regardless of the respective percentages, the state of the practice is to emphasize that JLBC is developing JLBC leaders in the context of ongoing work rather than taking JLBC leaders from their work to produce.

JLBC leadership development challenges

JLBC Embedding development in ongoing work is valuable in enhancing the job relevance of developmental experiences. JLBC Cadets The more technical term for this is the transfer of training, and it is one of the most pressing challenges when conducting classroom training and development programs. JLBC Cadets Specifically, what can be done so that the knowledge, skills, and abilities developed through JLBC training are applied back on the job?

JLBC Cadets This is a particular problem with leadership development because sending a changed person back to an entire leadership system often is an exercise in futility. JLBC Cadets Without support back on the job for the personal changes made as a part of a training and development program, such modifications are unlikely to stick. JLBC Cadets But when the changes come about from on-the-job developmental experiences, the JLBC transfer is more likely to be accomplished because the gap between JLBC learning and application is minimized in terms of time and distance.

JLBC Individual differences

JLBC Cadets A different challenge to effective leadership development is individual differences in JLBC developmental readiness. JLBC Cadets Just because a JLBC Cadet is a certain age or has been in a particular JLBC job for a certain number of years does not automatically mean they are ready for a given JLBC developmental experience. JLBC Cadets This is where the importance of a solid succession management plan comes into play. JLBC Cadets A deep understanding of someone’s career development in conjunction with an honest appraisal of that person’s JLBC leadership potential and job performance through a “Nine-Box” assessment can provide much-needed insight into the present level of JLBC developmental readiness for a stretch experience.

Even with the best-designed developmental experience, individual differences in learning will exist. This pertains to differences in the amount and the types of knowledge. Two people participating in a similar 360-degree feedback experience will likely take away different things from experience. For example, one person might come out with a greater self-awareness regarding the impact of their behavior on subordinates. In contrast, another person learns to provide more constructive feedback to their peers. This is inevitable mainly because of individual differences in terms of developmental needs and the way that we each construct our learning.

JLBC Cadets Learning goal orientation It is tough to learn from experience if attention is focused entirely on maximizing job performance. The issue is not how to replace implementation but how to elevate learning to be valued as performance. Influential work in motivation has distinguished a performance goal orientation from a learning goal orientation. With a performance orientation, the goal is to gain favorable judgments by demonstrating mastery and avoiding negative judgments of one’s competence. With a learning orientation, the goal is to increase competence by developing knowledge. A potential challenge with on-the-job development is that the focus is entirely on demonstrating performance mastery with little or no attention to learning and developing knowledge. As a result, the potential learning benefits associated with a developmental experience are reduced, negatively affecting long-term investment returns.

It is also unrealistic to expect learning to be valued more than performance because that has career-limiting implications in lower “Nine-Box” performance evaluations. One way to overcome this is to coach individuals on becoming more intentional about their learning through disciplined self-reflection, journaling, and proactive feedback-seeking behavior.

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