Over 50% of companies report that their organizations are ineffective at managing and retaining their top talent. What a crime! These same companies report significant problems and challenges with the unsuccessful ability to promote from within to management positions and transfers. On average, these companies report that less than 15% of their current team are well-prepared for an increase in responsibility to a position requiring more confidence and leadership. Another crime! Let’s juxtapose that against companies who have a well-entrenched leadership development program, who appear to be reporting nearly zero problems with such challenges. Intuitively, we realize that we SHOULD be developing our future now, and building the capabilities of our next generation of leaders. For some reason, many business owners and leaders fail to prioritize this important imperative, and therefore fail to get it started down the road to success.
Invest In Your Talented People: Increased investment in developing your team’s skills and capabilities benefits everyone, including customers, your business, your associates and the potential hires you are trying to recruit to join your company. Developing your next generation of leaders makes sense, and they will drive revenue and profit growth for your business now, and in future years to come.
Determine What You Want To Develop, Then Do It: Ensure that the competencies you most desire in your future leaders are the very traits developed as a part of your associate development program. Some companies are not focused enough on developing key characteristics such as change agility or the ability to manage global businesses. Plan for those experiences and skills and develop those characteristics proactively. If your company doesn’t have the wherewithal to develop the next generation of leaders for your business, seek the assistance of an experienced outside resource to help you narrow the gap and get started building that capability internally over time.
Challenge Your Emerging Leaders: Keep the education and the challenges coming continuously, moving your associates into new roles and new departments. Continue to push them gently to keep moving forward with their training and growth. Just because someone has been a stellar sales person doesn’t mean that they’d rather be promoted to sales manager. When an exceptional position in operations or marketing opens, this might be an excellent growth opportunity, encourage them to pursue it!
It’s Everybody’s Job To Develop Leaders: Engage your executives in the development program. Assign each executive in your company to mentor a top performer development candidate for a year. Ask executives to serve as a coach to an associate, in addition to the associate’s regular manager. Change candidate and executive assignments annually to ensure candidates and executives get to expand their experience and build relationships regularly.
Give Your Emerging Leaders Meaningful Exposure: Create opportunities for visibility and substantive engagement for your top development candidates. Great companies insist upon leaders and members of their Board of Directors having meaningful contact with the next generation of leaders during their developmental stages. A team building exercise away from the normal business environment, once a year, is a great Best Practices rule that encourages significant growth for everyone involved.
With over 50% of companies reporting that they are ineffective at managing and retaining talent, there is a lot of room for significant improvement. Working on associate development and leadership development as a high priority will ensure that your company begins to improve in this vital area. When only 15% of current associates are ready to step up to areas with greater responsibilities, this is a significant problem for any company. Imagine the impact if a company were able to double down on developing leadership capabilities and in a two-year span of time were able to prepare 30% of their current associates for a successful transition into management. Get moving and make development of leadership competencies a priority for your firm, and you’ll never regret it.
Michael Beach is an Executive Development Coach and Business Advisor to CEOs, Presidents, and their Leadership Teams. Michael works closely with companies to develop strong programs to help them to develop their next generation of leaders and to prepare them quickly for the responsibilities that they will need to face during their management and leadership careers. Michael would love to invite you to join his regular Business Leadership e-newsletter, “Coffee With Michael” by simply sending us an email to email@example.com. If you’d like more information about working with Michael to create a development program for your Emerging Leaders in your company, please send your inquiry to firstname.lastname@example.org.