What we won't learn in seminars or the scholarly say | Inquirer Business

What we won’t learn in seminars or the scholarly say

/ 12:02 AM September 04, 2016

WE ARE like sponges. We soak in what’s in the environment and they help shape our strategies and behaviour. I’d be the first to recommend training to get us equipped for the job. I don’t think twice about endorsing a good competency development program to get people armoured to deliver first rate output. We attribute a lot of our successes to the experts who have shared their knowledge which definitely found meaningful manifestations in the way we carry on with the tall orders of managing performance and growing the business.

However, there are certain lessons that are best learned through experience. I prize the crash courses to maturity learned from the school of hard knocks. It’s the day to day rigors that prune us to perfection or at the very least, get us seasoned in the craft. Here are a few of these realities best mastered outside the walls of a function room. In this age of reality talent contests and survival races, a new generation of corporate educators are placing a premium on ‘reality-training.’

1. Malasakit. More of attitude that aptitude. It’s going the extra mile. It doesn’t keep a tally of the working manhours logged in. No feeling of being shortchanged. Yes, there may be more enticing offers outside the organization but a person with malasakit cannot just be lured by more lucrative packages. His commitment to the company borders on the religious.


2. Emotional Investment. To be cerebrally stimulated by challenges is expected and natural to the goal driven individual who will likely thrive in an environment where his intellect gets stirred constantly. But the higher plane of commitment happens when the ‘stickiness’ to the organization transcends mental assent and penetrates the need to feel connected to a cause or shared convictions in the culture that strongly resonate with personal values. Deeper self-actualization needs are getting satisfied here. It’s the compelling need to connect to the vine.


3. Managing Exceptions. The seminars will teach us the importance of standardization. Quality management systems will enforce compliance to processes. And proof of this will earn us coveted certifications. But life is hardly black or white. Puzzling shades of gray heighten the call for flexibility. How does one execute exceptions without demeaning the intent of a policy? How does one implement exceptions without belabouring the rationale for a rule? You tell me.

4. Managing Aftermaths. While there are trainings on planning contingencies, risk analysis and preventive action, let’s face it – plans look good on paper and power point. How does one not lose steam when events do not unfold as programmed or predicted? Can one truly future-proof the business? I would adhere to the best attempts at ensuring that strategies for the ambiguous and disruptive be firmed up, but the mettle and dexterity of leadership gets tested when you have to keep on top of the consequences of decisions you’ve owned up to, most especially when these decisions are controversial.

I am sure that there are many other lessons out there that we didn’t learn the scholarly way. Great if we can put science into everything so that we can track with empirical data. But many of the lessons learned beyond the confines of the classroom are more art than science and hardly formulaic. That doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be pursued. Because after all is said and done, they may be the lessons that separate the substantial from the cosmetic, the talent from the tinsel, the brilliant from the adequate, the spontaneous from the scripted and yes, the great from the mediocre.

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TAGS: scholar, Working People

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