Rarely do we find men who willingly engage in hard, solid thinking. There is an almost universal quest for easy answers and half-baked solutions. Nothing pains some people more than having to think. ~Martin Luther King, Jr.
I spent today and will be spending the next three days at an offsite training class. The class covers C# and .NET development. I am not a developer and I don’t play one on TV but I am a manager of software developers so it is in my best interest to have a better understanding of the work they do on a daily basis, the work which can be handled as a journeyman or as a craftsman. The people I work with are craftsmen, engineers that take their work seriously and strive to be the best they can be. The group I attended with are from my company but do not report to me. They, too, are craftsman of the highest order.
I was the only member in the class that does not work directly with code. I have written software but not in the .NET environment. I was able to follow the lecture and learned some of the development concepts. However, It’s an advanced class so, when it came time to do the exercises, I was the proverbial fish out of water flopping around on the keyboard, gasping for understanding, choking on my lack of knowledge. I was able to muddle my way through the first couple of exercises but became quickly lost in the use of the tool to develop the software. Rather than bog the class down, I simply stopped trying to write the code. During the exercises, I took out my iPad and continued reading the book on leadership that will be the foundation for the leadership training training class I will begin conducting in Feb or Mar 2012.
Going to a training class could be a nice diversion from the regular work day but…..but I am on a very big project for my company, a project with a product deliverable that is a key component of my companies strategy for the near and long term future. So, when I get home, I fire up the PC to answer my emails and keep abreast of the project happenings. On top of that, the leadership training class I am developing seems to be forever at the forefront of my mind, niggling thoughts that won’t leave until they have been processed.
I have immersed myself in leadership reading and find myself viewing life through lenses that detect shades of leadership in everything I see, hear, and do. I watch soccer and I wonder how the captain leads his team. Is he a vocal leader that riles up his mates or a quiet leader that sets the example for the others to follow? I read a biography and wonder how leadership has molded the characters lives. I read fiction and imagine how leadership would help them through conflict or if better leadership would have enabled them to avoid conflict….unfortunately the avoidance of conflict does not make for interesting reading just as it does not make for good annual reviews in the real world. I watch a movie and try to understand which of the actors characters is displaying leadership characteristics as I did in my Maximus vs Commodus blog. I listen to classical music and wonder what goes through the directors mind as the orchestra bends to the whim of his baton. I see a pack of animals on TV and wonder how they view the alpha male and female, what the alphas contemplate as they lead their pack, what goes through the pack members minds as they vie for the top spot in the pecking order.
I record these ideas in the note section of my iPhone for further contemplation, record them so I don’t lose the fleeting thoughts peppering my consciousness hour by hour, minute by minute throughout the day. I wonder how every aspect of leadership that enters my mind will or will not fit into my training class. Is the idea something that will enhance the student’s understanding of leadership or will it detract from the concepts I will be trying to instill in them? This is a constant, internal dialog I have from the moment my eyes open until I finally fall asleep at night. I don’t think I will be able to turn it off until I finally finish all six sessions of the class I am developing and that is at least seven months on the horizon. I take my responsibility in this role as a trainer of leaders as a sacred trust so, it’s not necessarily a bad thing having this constant internal dialog.