Whether it be sports, music or theatre, to get to the top takes talent and practice. Practice, Practice, Practice. And to stay on top takes more practice. For every hour in a tennis tournament, a professional tennis player spends dozens of hours on the practice court. Those who think they have arrived once they reach the top standings and cut back on their practice routines soon find themselves out hustled and out gunned by those who practice religiously.
It’s the first, second and third laws of professionalism: practice, practice, practice.
And there are many types of practice. Skills practice. Physical fitness practice. Mental practice. Reading and advancing ones knowledge. Getting feedback from trusted advisors. All are forms of practice; keeping and improving your world-class skills
Do Business Leaders Practice?
So, when someone asked me the other day whether business leaders practice to improve their leadership skills, I honestly had to stop and scratch my head. Quickly I scanned my 35 years of business experience coaching and consulting with CEOs and senior executives. I mentally ran through an average week of a CEO and it quickly became apparent: not much time for practice! Unless you call meetings leadership practice? And not much time for feedback or coaching!
In fact, not much free time for anything. Most of their week is filled with back to back meetings. Many even sneak some time while in the bathroom to check emails!
So how do CEO’s and senior executives improve their leadership skills?
The short, honest answer? They don’t! Not that they wouldn’t like to improve. There is no time. And the result?
And we wonder why cultures drift over time from “high-performance” towards “dysfunctional” and “toxic”.
What do you think?
John R Childress