Beyond reviewing resumes of recent college graduates, summer is not typically a time to focus on the potential long-term talent and training that can move your organization forward, but perhaps it’s worth consideration. I recently read two excellent books that I consider summer “must reads” for organizational leaders on the hunt for emerging leaders: Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol S. Dweck, Ph. D. (Ballantine Books, 2007), and Building Giants-A Proven System to Transform Your Workforce Through Effective Training by Katy Caselli (Building Giants Press, 2016). After reading these books, you may be inspired to take a closer look at your organization’s leadership development sooner than you thought.
Dweck’s Mindset examines the psychology of mindsets and how our it affects our potential for success. She does not limit the success quotient only to business, but suggests that mindset plays a part in how successful we are in parenting, school, and relationships. According to Dr. Dweck, there are two defining mindsets: the world of fixed traits and the world of changing qualities. The world of fixed traits is based on perceived inherent talent. Success is inevitable because it is in the proof. Individuals with a fixed mindset are validated by their ability and are constantly proving to others that they are smart or talented. Individuals with a world of changing qualities mindset are continually evolving, gathering information and seeking knowledge. Success to them involves learning, developing, and considering the possibilities.
My recommendation of Mindset hinges on how business leaders can use the information to examine their own mindsets to seek emerging leaders. As current leaders create or review a strategic plan for the business, the next step is to determine what type of future leaders they are looking for to move the organization forward. Do they want future leaders who are in agreement with the current leadership style? Or are they looking for diverse thinkers who may either complement the existing leadership and company culture or turn both upside-down?
While Mindset looks at the mental mindset of success, Building Giants stresses the importance of using company resources for effective training to build success. Caselli, an Industrial/Organizational Psychologist, encourages business leaders to survey employees’ skills to find the hidden gems in their organizations. Instead of settling for poor performance or constantly looking to the outside for the skill sets your organization needs, Caselli promotes carefully reviewing your current return on investment in training your employees. Are you maximizing your employees’ potential by providing them with effective training, or are you letting the razzle dazzle of slick training sales presentations cloud your view of the type of training your employees actually need?
Building Giants acts as a primer on efficient workforce training for organizations. It is a quick, easy read divided into six defining chapters. Each chapter outlines the benefits and detriments to an organization that are directly linked to training. For example, the book starts out strong with the first chapter, “Failures in Training Can Hurt Your Business.” Rather than being punitive, Caselli follows up with a prescriptive tone in chapter two, “Let’s Identify the Need.” The third chapter, “Training Designed for Success,” provides strategies for organizations to follow, including scenarios common to many organizations. Chapters four and five offer suggestions on how to use the concepts learned in training on the job and discusses performance management strategies after training, respectively. The final chapter gives insights into how to grow a learning culture.
What if summer is the time to take a closer look at which employees in your organization are emerging leaders? Amid vacations, inventory and fiscal-year closings, it might be a good idea to look at the mindsets of company leaders and review how effective employee training has been in the last year. Has your management team missed some potential emerging leaders? Pick up copies of Mindset and Building Giants and add them to your summer reading list. I guarantee the ROI can’t be beat.