The #1 Leadership Challenge

There are millions of courses, conferences, magazines, and articles about leadership best practices being produced every year, and the number keeps growing quite rapidly. It seems that the appetite for leadership knowledge is insatiable.

Managers and leaders around the world keep searching for the magic potion that will help them resolve their problems. It seems that we all hope to find the one article, the ultimate theory, that will give us the key to success.

The intriguing question becomes:

How long does it take to learn about leadership?

The #1 Leadership Challenge: Closing the knowing-doing gap.

One of the biggest challenges most managers and leaders face these days is how to bridge the knowing-doing gap. Or in other words, how to translate all the different theories and knowledge, into actions; into tangible results.

The problem is that most of us keep writing, reading and learning about leadership best practices and theories, but little action occurs afterwards. It is called leadership inaction.

Unfortunately, the only key to success is knowledge + practice, so you can spend the rest of your life searching, and learning about leadership, but if you take no action, all your knowledge will be worthless.

An ounce of practice is worth more than tons of preaching. – Mahatma Gandhi

There are two key reasons for leadership inaction:

# 1 ZERO time. Most managers and executives do not have time to implement the necessary changes in their organizations. Aligning Culture, Structure and Strategy is a long-term, extremely complex task, so they know the things that do not work, but do not have the time to make the required changes, given the high pressure for quick financial results.

# 2 Fear. While I´m sure 100% of the managers and executives out there want to prevent their organizations from falling apart, the majority of them are extremely risk averse. Going with the flow tends to be the strategy chosen by most managers and executives in this uncertain environment. Nobody can afford to fail, as failure may represent the end of their careers.

Insanity is to keep doing the same things over and over again, and expecting different results – Albert Einstein.

How Can I Close The Knowledge-Doing Gap?

As Professor Reginald Revans – The creator and pioneer of Action Learning – stated in the 80´s:

There is no real learning or change unless action is taken!

Action learning is an approach to decision making developed by Professor Reginal Revans in the 80´s. It involves questioning, taking action and reflecting upon the results.

The Action Learning process is comprised of 5 key steps or elements:

# 1 Recognize a real problem that is important, critical, and usually complex.

# 2 Assemble a diverse problem-solving team.

# 3 Establish a process that promotes curiosity, inquiry, and reflection.

# 4 Realize that talk needs to be converted into action, a tangible solution.

# 5 Make a strong commitment to learning.

Action learning has proven very successful, particularly when implemented with an expert coach.

The Action Learning method promotes questions as the best way to help clarify, understand, open up new venues and unpack ideas and insights to learn.

Questions become critical before making decisions, and the coach is responsible to ask the right questions.

My Best Advice:

Next time you learn something valuable about leadership, ask yourself, how can I translate these ideas into actions? Action Learning is one of the best approaches any leader can take to complex problem solving.

The difference between learning and practice is bigger in practice than in theories – Jay Ashworth.

I hope you enjoyed the reading. If so, don´t forget to click on “Like” and share it with others who may find it useful.

I will love it if you take a minute to comment on this article. That´s the best encouragement to continue to write and share knowledge.

You may also enjoy some of my recent articles:

Jordi is the Managing Principal Consultant at Key Strategic Chain Solutions, a management consulting firm specializing in Executive Coaching, Organizational Strategy and Portfolio Management.

Best regards,

Jordi Alemany


About Jordi Alemany

I am a multi-cultural and multi-lingual (English, Spanish, Catalan and Italian) executive coach and management consultant, specializing in Humanistic Leadership, Organizational Strategy, and Portfolio Management disciplines. I am an energetic, creative and resourceful, with an innate passion for helping others reach their full potential.
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