Many of our proteges and mentors were good students at school and university. This is natural given Protagion’s professional focus, and we’re incredibly proud of our members’ foundational achievements, from good grades to degrees from prestigious institutions to their professional qualifications and beyond.
In Playing Big*, ‘good student’ Tara Mohr discusses her experiences of “...the deeper learning, the lessons slowly absorbed, day by day, from the culture of school itself” and asks:
Like us, she noticed that, in some ways, the skills we learn and behaviours we practice at school and university – those we originally thought were the ingredients for accomplishment – don’t serve us that well in the working world. As Tara puts it: “Blazing a bright trail in [our] careers – moving from ‘good worker bee’ to ‘mover and shaker’ - requires an entirely different set of muscles, skills, and ways of being than the ones [we] honed at school.” While our academic training and conditioning can lead to success at midlevels in our organisations, it does not necessarily translate into success as senior leaders, trailblazers or pioneering innovators.
Read more to explore three approaches which led to success in our studies but which don’t serve us as well in the world of work: advance preparation, adapting to authority, and assuming that good work will speak for itself. These are not universally applicable as all schools and university environments are different, and there will be other examples too, so please share your thoughts with us below the full article.
Errol Gray is a coach for managers and leaders, with extensive experience of helping people move from where they find themselves to where they want to be. Over his career he has been a minister, a corporate executive, and now a leadership coach. Here are Errol’s reflections, demonstrating his own development journey:
“My professional journey is characterised by a deep relationship that has followed its course like a thread. The thread not only joins the events of my working life like beads on a string, but it also tracks the highs and lows of my effectiveness. This is because the quality of my work is directly related to the quality of this relationship; when the relationship is healthy, my work is good and when it’s not, my work suffers.
The relationship I’m talking about, the thread that connects all the events and has a direct bearing on the impact of my work even today, is the one I have with what I know.
What I know
What I know is the most important aspect on my journey. It either nourishes it or starves it. Sometimes I am so impressed with it and at others depressingly dismayed by it. Sometimes it’s full, at other times my knowledge is empty. The knowledge I speak of is the knowledge necessary for coaching and related disciplines.
I’ve learnt the hard way that this relationship, like any other, must develop and mature. My best way of doing this is not as you may think – acquiring ever more knowledge. I’ve tried this. Like Botox, it may change the way you appear but may do nothing for how you feel about yourself. Acquisition, as with many physical things, does not equate to maturity.