Posts Tagged ‘Leadership Development Program’

[The problem with succession planning systems in companies is:] …most existing systems fall short, in both evaluation and development, because they lack a framework for characterizing developmental assignments.  Without such a framework, it is problematic to make comparisons between high-potential individuals placed in dissimilar situations.  Succession planners also lack a way of describing — and thus managing — the sequence of positions through which high-potential leaders progress.
  —  Michael Watkins
From his book: “The First 90 Days
[In other words, jobs are different and people are different, so there is NO reliable way to “groom” high-potential individuals in any company, let alone in any field of endeavor.  Even the same job is different in a few years.  Even the same person is different with a little more age (and/or experience).  “Grooming” is actually advance rewarding of someone who might be able to do the job when it needs doing and when they are placed in the position of responsibility.  It is not a systematic way of preparing a number of potential candidates to see which rise to the occasion and become the great captains of industry.  Why it (succession planning, leadership development programs) is done is usually political, not based on rational selection or merit.  Unfortunately, it seems meritocracy is as big an illusion as security.
Not even the King can be sure his heir will be worthy of the throne (but at least the Queen can certify the Prince has passed the first test – legitimacy!)  —  KMAB]

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Last Saturday (26 June ’10), I finished “Partners In Command” by Mark Perry (2007).  The book is a dual biography of Generals George C. Marshall and Dwight Eisenhower.  I purchased the book because I have had a long term interest in Marshall.  Aside from Patton, Marshall has been one of my favorite World War II generals.  The book speaks very favourably of Marshall; almost as highly of Eisenhower; and, rather poorly of everyone else.  In particular, Bradley, Montgomery and Patton suffer by comparison.  The lesson of the book, which the author repeats in almost every chapter: Democracies should only go to war when they are attacked (and therefore “have to fight”), they should only fight when they have allies, and, they should fight for as short a time as is possible to win.
I must admit, I have never “really” been a big fan of Eisenhower.  Partly because I considered him a “community organizer” and not a true general; partly because he was a Republican President – who I felt did little to move the country forward during his eight years in office; and, mostly because he selected an obvious thug – Richard Nixon – to be his Vice President.  I believe had he not done so, it is unlikely Nixon would have ever become President and the country might have been spared the Watergate scandal and its on-going legacy – Carter, Reagan, and both Bush’s.  The last part is probably unlikely, Bush I might still have become President, but I don’t think we would have had to suffer Bush II / Chenny.  Still history is the way it is…
I would still like to read more about Marshall and will be on the lookout for more books about him.  Everything I’ve read about him indicates he was a man of extreme integrity, humility and completely dedicated to his country.
Today (29 June ’10), I finished “Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell (2008).  This is a book about success.  What does it take to be successful.  It appears that it takes a lot of hard, dedicated work (a mythical 10,000 hours) and a great deal of luck.   The luck is not just personal luck, either.  It seems to involve timing (birth date) and cultural setting.  I’m not sure if I agree with all of Gladwell’s examples and extrapolations of “truths” which come from the examples, but he does make an interesting case.
This is the third book I’ve read of Gladwell’s (“The Tipping Point” and “Blink” being the other two), and I can heartily recommend him as a good read and a provider of new insight – what I would have called a “slap on the side of the head” in years gone by.
Celtic Blues
A little over a week ago, the Boston Celtics lost game seven of the NBA championship to the Los Angeles Lakers.  For years, my brother has insisted that all of professional sports are fixed.  I am not usually a “conspiracy” person, although I have seen moments in games when I questioned some referees calls (and non-calls).  This is the first time though, where I honestly believed the game was absolutely fixed and I will never look at an NBA playoff the same way again.  To start off with the commercials were heavily biased towards the Lakers.  As the game went on – particularly in the second half – they were a virtual coronation.  And this was while the game was still very much in doubt and the “greatest” player on the court (Kobe Bryant) was having an atrocious game.  I don’t mean a choke.  I mean a complete stinker – legacy game.  Instead, every time he got the ball in the third and fourth quarter, he would drive and if there was any defense applied, he was given a foul.  Kobe ended up with ten free throws made in the fourth quarter and the Lakers (as a team) had more than twenty extra free throws than Boston.  This, despite the fact that LA had to play tighter defense in order to come from ten points down to win the game.  In the end, the refs let the Celtics bring it back to within three points after letting the Lakers run ahead by eight.
World Cup News
A similar tragedy is happening in the World Cup this year.  Goals are being disallowed which are clearly in and onside and being allowed when they should not be (mostly players being offside).  Anyway, my three hopefuls have all been sent home (USA, England and Mexico).  I’m now hoping for a final of Germany vs. Brazil as I think that will be the most entertaining matchup.
Diet and Health
Not so good.  I’ve put back on about 12 pounds.  I’m back up around 305!  I’ve had a series of little (and not so little) aches and pains which has reduced my running to almost nothing.  I thought I’d really hurt my back, but it now seems as if I’m just having a flare up of kidney stones.  I’ve been pissing out a series of little grains for a couple of weeks now.  At one point, the pain was so bad I was limping and didn’t even want to walk.  Fortunately, that’s somewhat better now.  This last weekend, I tried to drink them away with a couple of gallons of water, but while it may have cleaned up my urine, it hasn’t fixed the stone problems.  The bottom line is that I’ve got to get back out there jogging.
I’ve been going to the pool instead.  So far, five sessions of treading water of about fifty minutes each.  No pain at all.  I’ve also been able to do the elliptical at the gym at work.  I’ve also tried the rowing at the gym, but that does result in a bit of workout pain (lower heaviness).
This weekend was the running of the Western States 100 Endurance Run.  It was interesting to check it out on-line while it was happening.  It seems like a distant and impossible dream now.
I’m not doing much better on learning to play the drums.  I guess Hil was correct.  “This too shall pass!”  I’m practicing in the car in the morning, but I don’t seem to have the energy (or make the time) to practice on the real drum set Art lent me.
I got the news on my application for the Leadership Development Program at work.  This year, I qualified, but did not make the best qualified list.  My consolation is that’s better than last year when I didn’t even qualify.

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Last Monday, 17 May I finished reading The Book of War, by Dwight Jon Zimmerman (2008©).  It is one of those encyclopedic surveys of wars, battles, generals and technologies which come out every few years.  It was interesting as an exercise (refresher), but I did not feel it offered anything particularly interesting or new.  A few of the battles and leaders were new (to me), but it was not obvious to me why they were included over other leaders which other authors might have chosen instead.

Today, 21 May I finished my second book by Stewart Liff.  This one is titled: Managing Government Employees (2007©).  It was Mr. Liff’s first book, so I’ve actually read them out of sequence.  This book was easily on a par with my last reading (Managing Your Government Career).  In fact, I’d say it was better in some ways because it gave more specific information.  Whereas the earlier reading was really for all government employees, this is more to the needs of folks in supervisory and management positions.  Again, I would highly recommend this work to any and all government leadership.  Between the two works, I am more and more convinced I need to get some time in Labor and Employee Relations and then get a detail out in the field.  There is NO substitute for program time if you want to get ahead in the government.

Speaking of which, the Leadership Development Program has been announced for the next fiscal year.  I have to get my act together and apply again.  This will be my fifth application in eight years.  I’ve been interviewed for four of them and did not make the Best Qualified List (BQL) last year – for the first time.  Anyway, we’ll see how it goes again this year.

Nothing really new on the running front.  I’ve been having a lot of minor problems for about a month and my time has really trailed off.  Mostly, I’m only jogging in the morning now (at work) and that’s not enough to get me ready for the WS100.

I picked up three pairs of “water-sport” shoes and plan to give a review of each when I finally get started back running a bit more seriously.  As “good” as it may sound to be a “natural” barefoot runner.  I doubt if I’ll ever be one.  These shoes may be as close as I ever get.

The diet is not particularly going…  I’m bouncing around at 290 to 297.  I’m still down over 30 lbs, but I should be much further along. 

I’ve picked up some drum sticks and am beginning to tap with them every now and then.  Art (my sister’s husband) says he’ll loan me a drum set for the summer (about six weeks).  That should be enough time for me to lose interest or “discover” I really do like playing a musical instrument.


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