I read this post “How GE Trains More Experienced Employees” with great interest. Focusing on “mid-career” development is a useful and important topic. Very little attention has been paid to mid-career development, whether the people in question are new hires or long-time employees within a given organization. However, the lessons outlined in the post are weak and present a typical “corporate” perspective of “development.” They offer little insight into how these more experienced people learn, or how the new neuroscience of learning changes leadership development. From our more than 15 years of experience in improving organizational performance, much of which was grooming mid-career personnel—both new hires and long-time employees—it’s clear that mid-career personnel think and learn differently than less experienced people. Mid-career personnel are:
- More purpose driven. They’re clearer about the greater good they want to achieve and are more willing and able to align their personal purpose with an organization’s collective purpose.
- Intensely self-directed learners. They teach themselves well if they’re given the opportunity to create their own learning programs, which always include a good mix of theoretical models and practical application.
- Confident because of their past experiences. They simply know more about organizations and life and can immediately make significant contributions to organizations.