Friday 19 July 2013

Funnelling through to the top – planning progression for senior managers: Part 2

As the dynamic world continues to churn out new information and perspectives, companies not only want to pass on to their best managers relevant historical knowledge, recognised and benchmarked skills to support them, but they also want managers to acquire and develop new and more holistic perspectives and capabilities that allows them to operate in a realm where they can produce value at the dynamic edges of uncertainty and emerging realities.

Some of the learning and development interventions focused at senior management include assigning them to specific programmes and projects that aim at helping them learn and practice leadership on the job, build perspective of the business area context and to know and work with other members in leadership roles. They are often assigned to green field projects and exploratory areas that can assist in developing newer capabilities and perspective. They may also be assigned to working with specific partner organisations which conjoins development of leadership and strategic collaborations.

Companies also engage external agencies that work with them to identify other opportunities that can facilitate specific areas of capability and perspective development apart from using them to manage and/or evaluate the overall development process. Some of these may be workshops and assignments which address specific areas and others that address broader needs. Some of these include such as those focused on Leadership, Scenario Planning and Visioning, Complexity and Systems Thinking, Personal Presentation, Etiquette and Communication, etc. while there are other areas of focus maybe function, industry or sector specific.

A key area of focus for a large number of organisations in the increased globalised work environment is cultural competence. A number of organisations now include working and proving oneself in a new cultural environment before they are considered for leadership roles.
Coaching and mentoring arrangements are also used extensively to support the development process. These arrangements could be set-up internally or with the help of external agencies or specific individuals the company holds in regard. In addition these may be used prior to the selection and promotion or may be on-going.

Apart from positively focused development, it is also known that some organisations work with senior managers earmarked for higher roles to address areas of concern in their behavioural repertoire. These may be focused on habits that may not align with the organisations values and image, or may be embarrassing for the company and the person that could publicly or within the organisation potentially cause loss of respect for the individual and hamper their achievement of results. These again may require counselling, coaching and mentoring services apart from a dedicated plan to address the specific concern.

The best companies ensure that the development plan is holistic, has a high degree of personalisation and is objective. This generally requires the inclusion of various participants in the planning and deployment of the programme including, top management, immediate and preceding line managers, other team members, In-company HR and talent development teams, external agencies or support personnel and of course the incumbent.

The more determined people are to funnel through the leadership development pipeline, the more the need to ensure that they prepare a plan with the best chance to succeed and that is a high engagement and high involvement endeavour, ofcourse the best time to start on that is now. 

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