Gary Hamel on “The Leadership Training Fallacy”

I'm at the Conscious Capitalism conference in Austin this week. 

It was organized by Whole Food's founder and CEO, John Mackey.  There are a cavalcade of thought leader gurus here, and one of them is Gary Hamel.  He wrote the fabulous book, Leading The Revolution.   

One of his remarks really struck me:  "This country was founded by geniuses and mostly run by idiots. Conversely, many companies are started by idiots [with good timing].  What does this mean?  We spend much time and money training employees to become leaders and not enough time teaching them to be successful with crummy leadership in place." 

Wow.  If you step back and think of it, that is pretty deep.  Have you ever worked at a company with mediocre leaders, but good products?  If you, and your coworkers, knew how to succeed despite them, you are saving the company!  

Why would mediocre leaders still be in place?  Family run companies, organizational momentum, charisma, the list of reasons is endless.  Hamel's right, though.  I've never heard of training for success in a low quality leadership environment.  Do you have any suggestions?