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Thursday, March 22, 2007

Informal Learning and New Managers - Nothing?

Dave Lee just posted on LCB - I'm a little verklempt! - where he points out that this month's big question -March Big Question: Supporting New Managers? - didn't get as many posts as in the past few months. He wonders what's the cause. A couple of the responses got me fired up...

Harold Jarche tells us ...

Yes, I'm busy but more importantly, the question was not of interest.

Wow, this is a surprise to me. This question really spawns from what I thought was a great question at a session with Harold and Jay Cross. Someone asked how informal learning might apply to new managers. I thought - wow, this is going to be great. Lots of good ideas will come out. Instead, we went onto something else. Does that mean that informal learning doesn't apply to new manager training? Or are we powerless to help make informal learning happen? What's the deal? Where's some help? Maybe we just need to visit Ray Sims - What To Do On Behalf of Informal Learning? that suggests lots of informal learning approaches and think about how these might apply to new managers.

Donald Clark said...
From what I have seen of various training industry reports, managers already get about 25% of the training budget. When you add on the approximately 15% that the executives get, then that means the leadership team is already sucking up close to half of the training budget. And I don't know of any organization that comes even close to that percentage of their staff being composed of the leadership team.Thus personally, I did not think the question held that much relevance due to them already getting more than their fair share of the training resources. I know that their role is important, but with all the talk about their employees being the most important asset and organizational charts being turned upside down to put their employees on top.
I'm not sure I'm in position to comment on whether we should be spending more or less on different employees, but my guess is that lots of people believe that some of the 25% spending on managers (not sure how much of that is new managers) could be rearranged into solutions that have the possibility of being more effective.

The bottom line here is that I'm not as concerned as Dave if we don't get responses. Some questions are going to spark discussion, others are not. This one clearly hasn't sparked as much as previous questions. But, it really surprises me that people are so satisfied with how organizations are supporting new managers. I personally have lots of questions here which is why I thought there would be more discussion. A couple of these right off the top of my head are:
  • What are three relatively low cost, out-of-the-box things you might try to help new managers?
  • How does informal learning apply to new managers?
  • What can we do with the direct reports of new managers? And the managers of the new managers?
  • How would we know at the end of the day if any of this is more effective?
  • How could we foster a community, on-going mutual support system for new managers? Can this extend outside of the organization?

If you have thoughts on these, feel free to contribute to: March Big Question: Supporting New Managers?

1 comment:

Harold Jarche said...

I guess I should have been clearer in my response. None of my clients has managers per se. Most of my clients at this time are start-ups or small, virtual organizations, and haven't got to the stage of needing managers. therefore, "new managers" are not on my radar screen.