Friday, December 8

How would you want your pilot, your doctor, and your lawyer to learn?

You and your family are boarding an airplane, and are about to fly across country. How would you want that pilot to have learned how to fly? P.S. It is stormy.

Your daughter is going in for an operation. How would you want that doctor to have learned how to operate?

You are the defendent a big intellectual property lawsuit. How do you want your lawyer to have learned her craft?

Now, is it fair or unfair to talk about project management, leadership, relationship management, and innovation (or other big skills) using those same standards? Is it as important for your boss, or your CEO, or your employee to have the same level of mastery? Is it even possible?


Tom Haskins said...

I'd like pilots to be trained in a multi-player sim where they deal with the conflicting personalities and roles in the cabin. A large number of "pilot error" crashes have been identified as a breakdown in the trust and communication in the cockpit. Training to handle the instrumentation and flight conditions in solo sims does not breed team players.

I'd also like pilots to put an avatar through a violation of FAA rules about time off and watch the avatar's acuity degrade into costly mistakes. If the budget is unlimited, I'd include scenarios that resolved the inherent in-flight monotony of the job (that causes many pilots to struggle with clinical depression) by "getting a life", other interests and significant relationships off the job.

And yes, Clark, its' fair to prepare other professionals in this way and then hold them accountable for handling these "meta-responsiblities".

jay said...

Clark, I agree with Tom, who suggests your questions oversimplify training.

Re: surgeons. I'd want a surgeon who has been out of med school for a while, so that she has learned from experience and her surgery has become second nature. I'd also hope she had enlightened social skills. Research published a couple of years ago in Harvard Business Review found that participatory surgery teams had lower patient mortality rates than top-down teams. (This was for keyhole heart surgery.)

It's the same with the attorney. I've looked into the conduct of Merck's disastrous vioxx trial in Texas. The Merck attorneys had a statistically valid case that it was extremely unlikely that vioxx was the killer. However, Merck lost to an attorney who told the jury stories that appealed to their values and emotions.

As to business leaders, I certainly want to see more than an MBA and asimulation. Two words: Emotional Intelligence.

There's never just one thing....

Unknown said...

The doctor and pilot are qualitatively different than the lawyer or manager situation. They have responsibilities where lives are at stake in their practice. The doctor more immediately. I think the way doctors are trained now is ideal - almost a decade of formal learning to understand the fundamental concepts and then years of close coaching on real situations.

Lawyers and managers don't have as much at risk, so they have more opportunities to make mistakes in their work. Theoretically, this should allow them to learn more freely on-the-job, but in practice, business tends to fear failure more than medicine (I don't know about law). The problem is that people inflate the risk of a project (It will kill our company. It will submarine your career) and consequently don't focus on learning as a parallel process to performance.

Meir Navon said...

I must say that I had to read Clark's post a few times to believe that this question was actually being asked seriously...I'm still not convinced...

It reminds me of what we were asked 10-15 years ago regarding eLearning, when people thought that a strategy of "or...or" had to be adopted. Quickly enough we understood that the "and" strategy is almost always the right one. No learning expert today would attempt to say that a serious learning challenge can be tackled using a learning method only.

I work with "El Al", the Israeli national airline and we use a very blended learning package: simulations ("generously" provided by Boeing), team work, F2F, some communities of practice and periodic certification.

Thank you, Clark, for the opportunity to reminescence...