But wait! (Sound of screeching brakes.) It's not that simple.
- People who need most to pull themselves up by their bootstraps don't have the resources to do so. Where does a person who is socially and/or economically disadvantaged obtain the opportunity to develop themselves? Localized nonprofit organizations with waxing and waning grant and contribution resources have been serving some of the need, but they are often operating in specialized silos. In many communities they don't know about one another or they don't have anyone bringing them together to create a complete process. Their clients have to wade through piecemeal - if they have the internal persistence and/or supportive external relationships that help them do so.
- Companies treat people development activities as expendable or at minimum postponable. And the front-line folks who actually have customer contact are the least likely to be the beneficiaries of development efforts. Executive conferences stay in the budget when the going gets tough but leadership training gets cut. Such prioritization reinforces a leadership caste system where those who already have get more while those who don't continue to wait in line.
- Individuals have waited for somebody else to help them develop instead of taking matters into their own hands. Leadership has been a growing area of study in colleges, and many companies have opened their eyes and provided resources to employees. But it's been difficult to stick one toe in the water and experiment for people who are not employed by an enlightened company or whose self-image doesn't include an image of themselves as students. Taking a college course is financially prohibitive for many.
So what are all of these populations of would-be leaders to do?
Enter Leaders Cafe Foundation, coming soon in the UK, the US, and around the world.In its final stages of preparation, Leaders Cafe Foundation is based on the premise that more people can have access to leadership development, without a sponsoring company needed (although LCF is open to corporate subscribers) and without the necessity for huge expense on the part of the participants.
Once a person becomes an LCF member they can have access to webinars on a diverse number of leadership topics, that they can consume whenever they want and at whatever pace they want. Ultimately LCF envisions that it will have cafes open, sites where individuals can access a bank of computers (accompanied, of course, by coffee and/or a snack,) a facility which enables even folks without home computing capability to participate in leadership development.
Webinar content development is well under way by educators, coaches, executives and the like around the world so that subscribers will be able to select from a diverse portfolio of leadership topics.
This looks like a fascinating means by which to help people find the bootstraps they need when they are ready to improve themselves. We'll keep you posted.