At 3M, Strong Leaders Rise From Heat Experiences
Heat forms, forges, and strengthens that which it does not burn—it’s the ultimate metaphor for an effective form of leadership development. Similarly, manufactured heat experiences that draw employees out of their comfort zone can increase their ability to absorb information, react quickly and decisively, and thrive in increasingly complex global environments.
Manufactured heat experiences that draw employees out of their comfort zone can increase their ability to absorb information, react quickly and decisively, and thrive in increasingly complex global environments.
The laws of thermodynamics are certainly not lost on 3M, the Fortune 500 multinational with a long-standing reputation as a company committed to improving every life through innovation and science. It even applies science-backed approaches to its leadership development with a program that emphasizes the vertical development of executives. This methodology was developed by the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL), which has been ranked by the Financial Times as the top global provider of executive education. According to CCL, ‘horizontal development’ relates to the acquisition of skills, competencies, and knowledge, while vertical development seeks to transform a person’s worldview for greater empathy and adaptability in three phases: heat experiences, colliding perspectives, and elevated sense making.
Through 3M’s pinnacle leadership development program, Catalyst, participants undergo a yearlong, externally focused development journey where they gain exposure to perspectives outside the company. Catalyst invites senior managers to step away from their immediate responsibilities for a 10-day immersion in a community-based project designed to provide a series of ‘heat experiences,’ putting their leadership abilities to the test in conditions outside their comfort zone, as pro bono consultants.
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