A Challenging Experience Is The Greatest Teacher

by Karen Armon, CEO/Founder, MarketOne Executive

A recent poll(1) asked 400 executives how they learned to lead and process of leadership development that they underwent as an executive.  The top three sources of developmental growth were reported as:

  • Job assignments (72%)
  • Developmental relationships (56%)
  • Hardships (37%)

The report stated that “a challenging job assignment alone is not enough to create development in an individual.” (2)

The research identified three elements necessary to create a powerful learning experience — challenge, assessment and support.  However, the respondents reported that 84% received little or no executive assessment, and 65% received little or no executive support through their developmental experience. The bottom line, according to the report, is that organizations are not maximizing their executive development programs.

The MarketOne Executive Bottom Line 

Leadership is learned through challenging experiences while receiving significant feedback and coaching throughout their development — experiences focused by work and at work.   Look to bring in customized executive assessments that identify leadership preparedness rather than leadership knowledge.  And hire executive coaches who have been executives in the past and who know how to provide the feedback and support necessary to grow leaders.  Otherwise, solutions that separate this powerful triad of learning are just a waste of money.


1)Center For Creative Leadership; www.ccl.org ; Dec. 2003.

2) ibid.

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