Anthony Friedli

"Regional Managing Director"

What was this rookie assignment (the role, task or event)? 

The assignment was to understand why a 50 year old training company with amazing products that have proven themselves over and over (even helping to bring the Apollo Space Shuttle back to earth) was not growing their user group. No new products had been launched for many years and the organization relied on word of mouth to fuel growth - which had occurred for many years.

When was it (Month, Year)? Set the scene of the time you were in.

Taking on the RMD role in 2012, by 2014 it was clear something had to change - we needed a new lease on life - a new way to inspire future leaders who had done so well from our processes over the many years beforehand. We were being asked constantly if we could help organizations increase their "bench strength". How would we codify what we create for our own people and roll out year after year. How would we commercialize the learning, mentoring and coaching that goes into each of our facilitators. How would we use all the learning's our leaders had gained using the Multipliers book and package it up to support all the clients we worked with that had one major issue facing them - "How do we create inspirational leaders?"

What were nervous or worried about?

Having a company that was very protective of its IP and trying to convince the Exec team that it was time to try something new - something that may fail first time but something that is directionally right took some effort. Also worrying me was that this new suite of products would just cannibalize our current programs.

Did we really understand the meaning of 'bench strength?"

Did we have the authority to be telling these organizations what excellent looked like?

Did we have the right resources internally to be inspiring?

What were you hopeful about?

Taking on this size of project allowed those passionate about really making a big difference to the world come out of their shells. Seeing excitement about the potential of the task at hand provided hope that this was the right track, this was something that we could provide tremendous value on and we could inspire many to be amazing.

We could also offer this to those less fortunate than ourselves in our 'give back to the community' program which would than have a serious multiplier effect on where we live and the lives of so many. Hope was coming out of every area within the organization.

What was the outcome?

In September 2014, 6 months after the blue prints were drawn and research had been compiled, our Emerging Leader Program (ELP) launched to a very excited audience. The program based around 3 core business competencies (Decision Making, Problem Solving and Situational Appraisal) and 2 mentored competencies (influencing skills and change management) really hit the mark for our current clients (all sessions up to March sold out) and new clients have heard of our thoughts and asked for more!

Our team is really invigorated and two individuals are growing at a rate of knots that has to be seen to be believed. In true Multiplier fashion - the thoughts and skills of one have transcended to many and grown to a much better place than in the first place.

In 2015 we will launch the Exec program that will model this program and add more higher level skills. One being how to be a Multiplier - we plan to give each participant a book!

What would be possible in your current job if you could re-invigorate this same rookie self?

If this same process was to be applied, our consulting business which is based on process improvement could be played out the same way. What are the offerings that allow leaders to excel. How can we enable more business folk to be truly influential in their role and make a much greater impact within and outside their organization. How can we champion organizations to be more efficient with their time.

If more folks in an organization had structures that guided their day to day operations (decision making and problem solving) and lead this way - how good could our organizations be? Having more time to work on the good forward thinking stuff rather than meetings that accomplish very little - great food for our thought.

What else would you like to tell us about your rookie story?

Being brave is easy to say. And learning to fail and accepting this is a great line in a book but requires some maturity and vision within an  organization. The difference between doing a poor job and trying and failing is still not very well defined. The more politically savvy employees can mask the difference between the two very well. To reward lack of effort is a big mistake. To apply negative consequence to those trying to make a difference with failures along the way is a bigger mistake. Understanding the grey in the middle and having patience is important.  Our expectations of events is where the missing link lies. Success will require 3 prototypes of the program (also called failures!). This to me is where the rookie race is won and lost!

  • “As a company grows, nothing is more important than retaining a culture of innovation. Rookie Smarts shows how even a big company can take risks, innovate, and operate like a challenger.”
    Chairman and CEO,
  • “Agility, resilience, grit, and a growth mindset—these are the attributes effective leaders need in a changing world. Rookie Smarts shows leaders at every age and at every stage of their careers how to master these skills.”
    University of Michigan professor and author of Leadership Sustainability
  • “Wiseman masterfully shows why novices can outdo veterans, expertise blinds us to fresh ideas, and the brilliance of newbies remains untapped. With sage insights and fascinating examples, Rookie Smarts is a must-read.”
    Wharton professor and author of Give and Take
  • “Wiseman (co-author: The Multiplier Effect: Tapping the Genius Inside Our Schools, 2014, etc.) provides a big boost for first-time employees and others who refuse to be bound by arbitrary limits. . . .An exciting promotion of lifelong discovery and enthusiasm as answers to routine and business as usual.”
    Kirkus Reviews