succession planning

October 27, 2010

Losing Your Best Employees

Working with a client this week, I came across one of those situations where a manager’s emotions can get confused.

I recall a training video where the manager concerned feels that if he develops his people enough, then they might be good enough to, well, get promoted and then they would leave him. And his misguided concern is that they will leave him to struggle!

The situation this week was similar. It was time for the manager’s trainee to move to a new deputy role, in a different arm of the business.

The manager was noticeably glad for the trainee, yet I could also sense a hint of sadness that he was losing a valuable member of the team – one who he’d nurtured himself to an enhanced level of performance.

In fact, losing people to new challenges – especially when they have developed to their potential – is pretty much always a good thing.

Managers who deliver great team members who are capable of moving onwards and upwards can celebrate with them – in more ways than one.

Firstly, that they (the manager) have done a great job. One where they have used their people skills to draw from that individual all the possibilities that they had within them.

Secondly, that the individual will be moving on to better personal opportunities for their own future (not least they often get a pay hike too!).

Thirdly, that they will learn more somewhere else – after all, one manager simply cannot provide all the growth for an individual.

Finally (and I’m aware there might be even more positives that others might be able to provide here), there’s another upside that all managers can draw from good people moving on.

There will be another new trainee right along soon. And there’s nothing like a new challenge to keep a manager sharp, engaged and able to reflect on how they themselves can evolve, as they start along the path to create new excellence from another raw recruit.

Filed under Blog, Developing Your People, Management Basics, Managing Me by Martin

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August 24, 2010

Keeping Your Team Members Happy

A manager’s role is to build successful teams that deliver the business. We aim to seek for higher and higher performances from those we encourage, cajole and develop.  How do we keep them all happy?

We strive to create refined, capable people to inhabit our teams. The results we seek cannot be delivered by us alone, because simply we cannot do it by ourselves.

Like the soccer coach – the results come from those who cross that white line for us. All the plays the team practice during the week, are for nothing if they don’t deliver ‘when Saturday comes’ – as they say!

As managers we have to hone their skills, tactics and flair for then.

Yet what happens to our people when we’re done developing them. When they can grow no more in the circumstances that we are in a position to offer them?

Indeed is it possible that they can grow no more with us at their helm? Could that be possible?

The simple answer is – of course they can reach a peak in the team we have them in; with the support and challenge we help them with.

And sometimes, when they achieve that zenith, we have to make the more courageous decision to let them fly off and seek a new level of opportunity, to make the next leap.

Successful management is not simply about building a team that serves us well. It’s much bigger than that.

When we help create fulfilled employees, the bigger picture is where we have to be brave and let them go. We have to celebrate the success they achieve with us and – where this is what they want – prepare them for a bigger stage to explore and reach for the next level, with our support and enthusiasm.

In soccer, managers of smaller teams strive to create better and better players for the good of the team and then, whilst it may be a sad time, encourage them on to bigger teams; new arenas and bigger opportunities.

That’s where the bigger managers stand out – loving the growth they see and then accepting – no, encouraging – their people to be the most they can – even when that means moving on.

Filed under Blog, Developing Your People, Management Basics, Management Development Tips, Managing Me by Martin

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February 9, 2010

Five Unexpected Benefits of Performance Management

Managing performance can be a challenge, especially where you have an organizational process to fulfil.

Outside the more obvious reasons for using such a process, there are more to go for, which will help managers realize why it is a useful tool to embrace fully.

Apart from the individual benefits for each one of your people, there is some incredible additional value that you can add with managing performance, rather than by letting it be a chore.

Check these out…

•    Succession Planning

Where you focus on the development of your people as part of managing their performance, you will ensure that you are growing capability within your team for the future as well.

With individual development, you provide for the challenges that happen when you lose people from your team.

When they leave for the new challenges you’ve prepared them for maybe; geography moves them on or even they retire, you have new, eager people that are ready to rock and roll.

•    Creating Momentum

When performance management is used to its best advantage, successes follow success. For each individual developing their skills and output, a mood of growth envelops the team members.

As your people sense that their capabilities are of value, they do more; create more; take risks and try on new possibilities and between them all, this rubs off.

Each tries more and achieves more, creating an upward spiral of success and a momentum of the ‘can do’ attitude so valuable in developing team spirit that synergizes the combined efforts of individuals.

•    The Culture

Once successes are achieved, not only is there a sense of what’s possible, you people are also focused on each other too.

They support each other as a team, rather than simple as individuals engrossed in themselves.

The culture will be one of mutual synergy, so powerful in making new, exciting things happen out of often almost nothing.

•    Building on What They’re Good At

When there is a culture of success, it comes where each of your people is fully aligned with their actions.

Some call this ‘being in the flow’.

This total focus, concentration and energy makes things happen so effectively that it becomes almost effortless.

A stream of activities that just seem to, well, work, is the return you get from where your people are building on the strengths they have with your encouragement and support, your coaching and developmental challenges.

When you work with people on where their true capabilities are, more becomes available from them and they rise to the new challenges you find for them.

When working in areas where people are in their ‘good at’ zone, much more becomes possible for them.

Your focus as a manager is to find where their performance ‘hot spots’ are and leverage that however you can, safe in the knowledge that you are delivering a win-win to them, so the results are perfect.

•    Creative Coping Strategies

Let’s be honest, no-one is a perfect employee – not even you!

So, there will be times where they are challenged more than is good for them in areas where ‘flow’ is a mystery.

In these gaps, it’s always a valuable support to acknowledge this together with them and help them find new ways to resolve these elements of the role they struggle with.

These solutions might be helping them delegate; helping them create workarounds; creative recruitment strategies; learning from poor performance and more.

By coaching them to solutions that overcome the areas where they aren’t fully at home, you will support and encourage the areas where they are excellent too, without wasting time wringing hands over the effort they need to make in unproductive areas for them.

So, let’s keep the activities that they can’t describe themselves and being ‘good at’ easy too!

There’s more to managing performance than the obvious chore of filling in bits of paper to make the process work and when you recognize the value, you will be much more ready to invest some time in it.

Filed under Blog, Developing Your People, Focus on Results, Management Basics by Martin

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January 3, 2010

Understanding the Critical Value of Key Roles in Your Team

Every business has its Key Roles.

Each organization has pivotal positions that are critical to get right. Managers who understand that these roles and positions are often critical to success are usually the ones who are ahead of the game.

All teams have those really vital roles, where without people knowing what they are doing, the going would get very tough indeed. Those critical positions in the team that simply have to be right or things would become very difficult.

Because initially it isn’t practical to use succession planning for absolutely everyone in your business, these roles are the ones where a good manager initially focuses on, just to ensure continuity if the worst comes to the worst.

So it’s important to focus, at least to start with, on those roles where you would struggle when someone left or was unable to work for a while. The cataclysmic positions without which would be a serious threat to ongoing continuity.

Such roles are mostly pretty obvious, yet there will be some that even the most aware manager might not appreciate, so it’s worth considering how to analyze the whole team to see just who would be missed if they didn’t show up one day!

To help identify the ‘Key Roles’, they are filled by employees who would:-

•    Have very specific skills
•    Have a particular level of experience
•    Be carrying out a role alone
•    Lead a team
•    Be critical in some other way to the business

Some examples of these would be those with:-

•    Management or Supervisory skills
•    Technical skills
•    Accounting skills
•    Sales skills
•    Particular responsibilities
•    Extreme duties (e.g. key holders, very early or late hours)

There are, no doubt, many more – especially in your own unique situation – and it will be worth taking some time to ask the following question:-

“What would we do if he/she left tomorrow?”

…for every single employee in your team (and even, where your team intersects with others, perhaps those in other teams too).

This is can be a challenging exercise the first time through – and with a little practice, it does get easier as awareness builds and your support managers – where you have them – become more aware of the consequences of someone important going missing unexpectedly.

Far better for it to be a demanding challenge today when you are ahead of the game and able to prepare for the worst, than tomorrow or next month when one of your key people isn’t around anymore and you have no plan at all!

Great managers are able to size up where they are in solving the problem of losing those in key roles and manage it effectively, providing opportunities to learn and develop for those who might be able to stand up to short-term chances, to show what they can do when emergencies happen.

Filed under Blog, Building the Future, Developing Your People, Management Basics by Martin

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