Changing Behaviours: turning apprentices into future leaders
‘Culture eats strategy for breakfast,’ so said management guru Peter Drucker – as an aside, I’ve often wondered what you must do to reach guru status – any ideas?
Or another way to look at this, as Peter Drucker also said: ‘Organisations with great culture enjoy a surer route to success.’ So, how do we create great culture. Well first we better answer the more obvious question, what is culture, or more accurately, what is workplace culture?
According to Forbes, culture is, the shared values, belief systems, attitudes and the set of assumptions that people in a workplace share. More simply, and my personal favourite, it’s the way we do things around here – a set of expectations that ensure everybody understands what they’re supposed to do and how they are expected to do them.
So, what does this have to do with apprenticeships? When you study an apprenticeship you focus on three areas: knowledge, skills and behaviours. If you think about a job, any job – yours, your bosses, whoever - the what of that role is quite easy to explain in terms of knowledge and skills. There will be a job description listing key responsibilities and expectations to measure performance. Good ones will add a person specification and talk about the level of authority and autonomy you can expect, because defining the what is easy.
Now, let’s think about the how, the way to show up and be. It’s fair to say this can be easy to explain, but making it happen, that can be a challenge, for organisations and the bane for learning and development professionals the world over. It all has to do with behaviour.
Someone could be the GOAT (greatest of all time) in their field, with excellent skills and knowledge, but if they are a royal pain in the posterior to work with, for, or just to be around, the organisation runs the risk of poisoning the workplace culture and making it toxic – which in turn can lead to heightened attrition, reduced productivity, etc.
Behaviour is therefore an output, based on our pre-dispositions and environment. Which means, luckily for employers and learning and development professionals, behaviours can be changed, and they do, but it’s a process that needs reinforcing.
At Brathay, we understand the importance of professional behaviour and how it powers great leadership. We’ve been helping people develop their howfor over 75 years and it’s why our clients trust us to help their apprentices realise their leadership potential and show up in ways that reflect the values and beliefs of their organisation.
There’s increasing evidence about the importance of emotional intelligence in the workplace, particularly for those who lead – and even more so now as we emerge from the shadow of the pandemic, proving that good leadership is not about skills and knowledge, but about behaviours.
This is why apprentices are the future of any organisation, because not only are they the only education route that incorporates modern behaviour skills into its standards but they also measure them and considers them to demonstrate success, and this is what helps to build our future leaders.
So, say it again, ‘organisations with great culture enjoy a surer route to success.’ The question being, do you really want to leave it to chance?
Frank Clayton, Head of People Development at Brathay