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BY Joel Junker

Even in a recession, developing leaders is important – Lessons from 3M CEO.

Even during a recession, hiring, retaining and developing leaders is important.  You do not have to take it from me, just read George Buckley’s interview with USA Today published this week.  George Buckley has been the 3M CEO since 2005 and is cultivating an environment of growing leaders from within the company.   You can read the article at http://www.usatoday.com/money/companies/management/advice/2009-05-17-buckley-3m-leadership_N.htm

Highlights from the article:

– Yes, the economy is in a recession but a company has to look to the future and develop tomorrow’s leaders today.

– “You can’t plant leadership in a person, but you certainly can enhance it in a person.”  Therefore, you have to hire people who have leadership potential and then develop them.  This doesn’t necessarily mean training them, but it means giving them the appropriate assignments to grow into more responsibility.

– On the question of, “Why not save money on leadership development and recruit top talent from others?”, Buckley answers, “I’d sooner own a fish farm than be reliant on catching a few fish.”  To have a fish farm, a company has to populate the pond with those who have demonstrated leadership potential.  This bodes well for a JMO.

– It is best to stay in positions approximately 4 years in order to experience the success AND failures.  This is inline with what the Gallup Poll reported in the book First Break All the Rules, which said it takes a minimum of 5 years to hit your stride and start making contributions.  Too often, JMOs are anxious to change positions every 18 months like they did in the military and once in a business career, former JMOs would be better served thinking about their career in 4-5 year increments in order to get the full experience from each position.