From the Horse’s Mouth

Yesterday I posted a blog lamenting the leadership industry’s single-minded focus on single individuals. I argued instead for a more holistic or systemic approach, one that takes into account those who are other than the leader, and also the contexts within which the relevant players are situated.

Later in the day I was reading the Financial Times and came on a piece titled, “Horses for courses that gee up working relationships.”* The article described part of a two-week executive training course that had been organized by the London Business School for partners from the consulting firm AT Kearney. The idea was for these executives to earn the trust of selected horses so that they might lead them around the arena. Why? “For participants to learn about themselves and the unconscious signals they send to clients or colleagues, or indeed horses.”

I have nothing against horses. Or for that matter against equine “guided learning.” Rather the question is this one. How is the time for learning leadership allocated?

The course described in the article is two weeks in duration. Does two weeks of executive learning even make sense? Is two weeks enough time in which to accomplish anything that will endure and is somewhat substantive?

Even assuming that the answer to these questions is yes, how best to use the two weeks? Has it been demonstrated that spending some of this precious time on equine guided learning is optimum? Might this same amount of time be better spent another way? Better spent thinking not about the self or about the “unconscious signals” we send, but about the other? Better spent learning about complex problems that defy simple solutions?

Just asking.



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