Putting theory into practice

Job rotations give aspiring managers the whole picture
By David Kosub
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 01/13/2003

Books on basic management and leadership skills — what they look like, what they can do for an organization and how they can be developed — fill the business shelves of most bookstores.

But buying those books is a waste of money unless the theories can be practically applied in a real-world setting. It’s the same thing for leadership training, says Linda Mulhall, manager of staff development and recruitment for Thrifty Foods Ltd., an independent British Columbia grocery store chain. Aspiring managers and leaders can be told what is expected of them but they learn best by applying those lessons in the workplace through the firm’s job rotation program.

“If you take individuals away and do training and then they go back to the same old situation, then nothing changes. You have to work with units of people together to change practices. And all the theories in the world won’t make any difference unless I’m getting positive reinforcement from my boss for doing things a certain way.”