What if you could go back in time and do things over? Would you? If so, what, if anything, would you do differently? I'm asking this question as I write the manuscript for my forthcoming book, Suddenly in Charge: Managing Up, Managing Down, Succeeding all Around. And I'm getting some very interesting responses.
It seems like the one thing that is most different about management today is that there are no longer formal management programs. In my day, companies would come onto campus looking for people who were good enough to go through their "executive management" programs. Many of these programs were year-long programs where participants received formal training as well as an opportunity to rotate through different disciplines in the organization. Life is much different today.
Training programs have gone the way of 401(k) matches. They've been dramatically cut back and in many cases eliminated. If you are fortunate enough to work for a firm that believes in development, you may get the opportunity to attend one of those $129 all-day programs that are supposed to teach you everything you will need to know about management. Of course the reality is that you can't possibly learn this in a day. Training has to be on-going, not just a one time event or it isn't worth the investment for either the employee or the company.
I'm worried about the next generation that will be our first line of supervisors. I know they want to do the right thing. But let's face it. They haven't really had much in the way of role-modeling as most supervisors today are working supervisors. By that I mean, they are taking on the role of a supervisor, while doing the work of the people they've eliminated in the last round of layoffs. How can you possibly excel under these circumstances.
While researching my book, I've asked the question, "If you could go back in time, would you? And what if anything, would you do differently?" The most popular response I received was, "I wouldn't manage people." Mind you, these responses are from people who are currently managing people. Hmmm…maybe it's time to bring back formal training programs.
I welcome your comments.