The Glacier above is shrinking, as the summer melts are no longer adequately replaced with new ice each winter. As I looked up at this Glacier, high up in the Lauterbrunnen valley in Switzerland, I related this to the competency and skills in management teams. Is your management team being adequately refreshed with new skills and competency to replace those that are burnt up or no longer relevant in our ever more agile world? Is you management team sustainable?
I think of sustaining management teams in two ways:
- Constantly updating and renewing the skills of the current management team and optimising their effectiveness with executive coach, team development and objectives that help them grow their competencies.
- Refreshing the team by brining in new people to “expand the management team DNA”. Whilst I recognise that there is a place for recruiting individuals from outside the enterprise in certain circumstances, in this blog I will focus on developing the people in the enterprise.
Enhancing the capabilities of the current management team
Dr Stephen Covey included “Sharpen the Saw” as number 7 in his list of habits of highly effective people. He explained this as preserving and enhancing the greatest asset you have – YOU! By having a balanced program for self-renewal he argued that you increase your capacity to produce and handle the challenges around you.
Are you setting objectives for yourself and your colleagues that encourage such self-renewal? Moreover are you looking critically at yourself and identifying the areas you personally need to develop to help maintain your personal market relevance in our rapidly changing world? Some years ago I personally benefited from an experienced Executive Coach helping me stretch my own critical thinking and developing a much broader personal development plan than I would have on my own. He probed for “plateaus” in my development and thinking and then challenging me to develop new personal growth “options”. If you do not have a personal executive coach, I encourage you to consider appointing one.
Are you taking enough time away from work? An article in today’s Financial Times argued that it pays to give executives breaks. In addition to providing some examples from the generally vacation limited US business world, the article refers to a 1000 person study conducted by the accountancy software provider, Sage. 57% of the British Small Business owners surveyed believed that taking more time away from the business would allow themselves to think more strategically and this would help them grow their business.
Growing the Management Team
How much time do you devote to “growing” the next generation of Leaders for your organisation? While I was at Accenture I experienced the power of the “Leaders teaching Leaders” approach that was introduced to us by Noel Tichy:. I saw three great benefits as we implemented our Leaders Teaching Leaders approach:
- Our leaders spent time developing their personal points of view on current industry topics and sharing these with their people raised the overall sensitivity of the enterprise to current trends and opportunities (and provided a foundation for being more agile).
- We identified a group of next generation leaders that were “taught” the business by leaders – accelerating their personal development
- Our succession options were expanded.
I believe strongly that at both individual and enterprise levels we need a greater focus on developing talent so that we can respond more effectively to the opportunities in our agile world, develop a stronger pool of next generation leaders and create more sustainable enterprises. I would welcome an opportunity to explore these ideas with you and your enterprise.