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Don’t Delay Development

Jackie: Welcome to Slingshot25’s Shotcast, a series of bite sized podcasts that will feel like an espresso shot straight to your brain. I’m Jackie. 

Courtney: And I’m Courtney. 

Jackie: Something that we’ve been thinking about is this human tendency to kick things down the road. I know. Now you might be wondering, what the heck are we going to say about this?

We’re kind of wondering that. 

Courtney: Nobody’s wondering that more than us. 

Jackie: It’s true. At least we’re on the same page there. 

We’ve been thinking about this tendency to kick things down the road because we feel like if there’s not a quick fix, if it’s complicated, if it’s going to take a lot of energy to do something about this, like, can we just keep pushing it out on the strategy?

Like that’s a next year thing. That’s a, when-we-really-get-our-act-together… 

Courtney: Or as soon as this org change is finished, then we’ll figure it out. Right? There’s always an excuse. It’s something in the way of doing what needs done. So we prioritize the urgent thing of the day over the important work that needs done.

And I know a lot of you are struggling with that because you know it’s important and it’s frustrating for you too that you can’t, you don’t get to it, or it doesn’t get prioritized, or you’re waiting. In the meantime, you have leaders that aren’t having good conversations. You have employees that are looking at other jobs and just a level of frustration because you haven’t done the important work to help them.

Jackie: Yeah. And the important work that we’re talking about that you’re kind of alluding to right now, Courtney, is the important work of continuing to develop the skills of your leaders. Because it’s a complex field. I mean, you all know, there’s something like 75,000 leadership books on Amazon right now, as we speak, probably actually more than that.

I’ve been saying 75,000 for 20 years. So it’s probably something like 150,000 by now. So it’s complex. There’s a lot to say about it. And it’s easy to say, eh, you know, we’re good enough. That’s just, you know, something that we’ll throw into strategy later when we can free up some money for it or whatever it might be, whatever story you’re telling yourself.

And we’re here to give you maybe a little different way to think about that. 

Courtney: Yeah. So what do we think about that? 

Jackie: Well, we think that you need to start thinking more critically about the story you’re telling yourself there. And one of the things that came up for me, Courtney, when I was thinking about this is this model, because I use a lot of mental models to think about things and find my way through things, is the model of the Dunning Kruger effect.

And the Dunning Kruger effect essentially says we don’t really want to take on a larger body of learning that will just settle for this idea that we know enough already. I’m good. I’m good. I think you suspicion that there’s a lot more out there that maybe we should be kind of peeking over that into that canyon of much more to learn. But we’re just going to stay here for now and tell ourselves a story that we’re good. 

Courtney: Yeah. And if I can throw in, it’s this idea that we know a lot. Before we know anything, right? So like, what is it? Ignorance?  Ignorance is bliss.

And so when we actually don’t know, we’re pretty confident because we don’t know what we don’t know. And then we get into things and actually realize and learn and get humbled around what we actually don’t know about. And our confidence goes down and we get a lot more curious and we learn. Probably a really great example is, I have kids and I remember very specifically my brother, I don’t know if my brother listens to this, but if he does… You know how before he had kids when I had kids and I know I could watch the wheels turning his head of all the things that he was never going to do as a parent that I was doing.

Right? Because it’s easy when you don’t have children, you sit in this high place of being very confident because you’re not the one doing it and you don’t know. And now he has kids and mine are raised and are, you know somewhat, and I’m laughing at all the stuff that he’s doing that he was never going to do.

Right? Because you get humbled by the experience and the Dunning Kruger effect is just modeling that of…you know a lot when you don’t know much and then you get humbled and learn how much you have to learn. 

Jackie: That’s right. That’s right. And so there’s no quick fix when things are complex. Life is messy.

And this is one of the things that we teach all the time about leadership. And so we know that we sometimes have clients who are afraid to jump into that complexity because it’s just going to, you know, keep exposing more and more about the work to be done. So one of the things that we like to talk about is we get that, we understand that there is more to learn about leadership, and it is absolutely important that you get started quickly on jumping into that complexity.

And, keep introducing deeper and more learning for your leaders, because I think we’ve talked about this on podcasts before that as your leaders go, so goes your company. The investment is absolutely essential, even though it might be scary that you’re going to be opening up something that is far too complex for you to consider where it is at today.

Courtney: Yeah, and I think one of the things that like, I don’t know how much we give advice on this podcast, but the way we practice leadership and change management together, like this approach, our methods, we understand how to get started quickly. You don’t have to have everyone. We know how to build momentum.

We can help you do that. And you think about like, where are 20 leaders in my organization that are influential, that are seen that have, you know, potential. If you invest in them, their circle strengthens and so does everyone around them. And so you don’t have to have a comprehensive, all-inclusive five year leadership and development strategy to get started.

In fact, our experience would say you should start small, start somewhere. And I think that’s one of the reasons that holds people back from actually going after it and not tackling the leadership development problem. They turn it into this great big elephant and they can’t move it.

No one’s ever gonna move the elephants. You have to start small. Yeah, and I think the other thing that people get hung up on is, okay, I’ve done that. Like let’s say I did put the people through the training. Now what? And so when you blend – here’s our needs, here’s our people, here’s our strategy, we’re going to get started, we’re going to build. And then building the change management on the back end, like what’s the heartbeat, what’s the reinforcement, what are the refresher classes, what are the labs, where are the talks, then you can take what you’ve planted and continue to watch it grow.

That’s right. And that has to be, when we do work with teams and they hire us, we call it our leadership movement, right? Starting to shift your culture, we know how to work with you end to-end-on that so that you can get started. You get the snowball rolling and you’ll have confidence that it keeps rolling. It doesn’t just turn into a flash-in-the-pan one-day event. 

Jackie: That’s right. So moral of the story, we can help you push that elephant up the other side. 

Courtney: A snow hill. How many metaphors can we cross here? We’re going to push a snowman elephant up a snow hill. 

Jackie: We can help with all of that. So that’s all for this episode of our Shotcast, but we always have much more to say, particularly around this subject.

So if you want more, drop us a line at Until next time.

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