Career Development, to be or not to be - Human Capitalist - Volume 4 Issue 6

Volume 4, Issue 6  "A" player human capital leadership by Hunt Executive Search
 The Human Capitalist
 
 Career Development, to be or not to be
For more than a decade, the Human Capitalist has been a value added service to encourage 
our employer and candidate clients in their Personal & Professional Development
 
 Featured Article
Career Development, to be or not to be

"Coaches who can outline plays on a black board are a dime a dozen. The ones who win get inside their player and motivate." Vince Lombardi

In concert with our Succession Planning survey published in parts one and two of this series, we surveyed more than 10,000 executives at the C-Suite, General Manager, VP and Director levels and had respondents from 517 Consumer Packaged Goods & Life Sciences companies in preparation for article. Survey says!

42.1% said their organization has a formal career development process for all salaried employees. 57.6% said they did not.
44.6% said they personally have a career development in place by their up line. 55.1% they do not.
64.7% said they do you have a career development process for all or most of your direct subordinates. 35.3 said they do not.
94.9% said they believe it would be in their companies and employees best interest to have a formal career development program. 5.1% said they do not.
42.3% believe that career development should reside with the Human Resource Department. 57.4% believe it should reside with the individual managers.
Career development should mean the following taking place:
Create a system of options and choices so that employees whose talents and interests are not completely met by the company can have them met with the help of the company.
  • Everyone is receiving training, coaching, and other options to become as good as they can be in their current job.
  • Those with the potential are being developed for future jobs.
  • People have the option to select programs for personal enrichment, even if they are not immediately job related. This does not mean everyone has to be provided the opportunity to get their MBA from the University of Michigan (Go Blue!). I've coached a CEO to take to a Dale Carnegie class and another to come with me to some Toastmasters meetings to help with his fear of public speaking.
  • The highest potential people have development tracks that are in sync with their places in the succession planning process.
Building a succession system without integrating career development is akin to building a bridge by assigning two different contractors to each side, requiring they use different materials, and forbidding them to speak to each other.
That bridge is unlikely to meet in the middle.
This is the fundamental reason you should not entrust career development to the human resource department. When you see the human resource department tasked to find coaches and leadership development programs, you know that senior management has abdicated its responsibility.
Here is where the rubber most often meets the road and I often consult with my clients in the creation and integration of career development in the categories listed earlier:
  • All "A" players should be receiving training, coaching, and other options to become as good as they can be in their current job. Far too often organizations make the mistake of leaving their "A" players alone and spending all their time, money and resources on helping the "B" and "C" players. The pareto principal or 80/20 rule is virtually a natural law and it's at the expense of the greater good to try and break it.They should have significant input to their career development to meet personal needs.  
All jobs, but especially all executive jobs, i.e. CxO, General Management, EVP/SVP/VP, and higher level Director level positions, should have results outputs that determine whether they are being done well and consistently with the organizations needs. You might say "duh", but look at 98 percent of job descriptions that all about tasks, duties, responsibilities and inputs. Many people can do a better job if they have the proper tools. Many functional vertical positions need to better understand how their job contributes. We use a Accountability, Performance, Scorecard (APS) for the searches we conduct. You would not believe how difficult it is for us to get hiring managers to work with us to convert the traditional duties and responsibilities on the job spec to accountabilities and then to competencies required to assess against the accountabilities.
 
Some people need coaching: Here's how you better communicate with the XYZ department that requires influencing skills because you don't have authority over that department. Here's how you work best with the VP Finance, who's personal style is very different than ours. Here's how you deal with the VP Merchandising at Wal-Mart when he is screaming at your subordinates. Here's how you encourage more input from your subordinates by not cutting off their sentences in meetings. etc.
 
Your job is to help ensure that all positions have measurable outputs: the performers understand what they are; they have the tools, skills, attitudes, and experiences to fulfill them; and they receive regular feedback on their performance. This applies to 100 percent of your staff, it is easy to understand but not simple, and a good coach can make a huge difference in productivity by focusing on the this one simple aspect of career development.
  • Those with the most potential are being developed for future jobs. 
Most people in organizational life have aspirations to do better. Many of them have the potential to do so. They may not be a formal part of succession planning system for the executive committee or key department head role, but they could qualify one day. In any case, they represent the key bench strength that is available in the case of the people that are promoted, involuntary attrition, acquisition, long-term illnesses and disability, and temporary assignments.
 
The competition for advancement today is unprecedented, and the typical pyramid type of ascension is narrower than ever since organizations are trying to do more with less and generally avoid overpopulating the enterprise. But it's a pragmatic and ethical requirement to develop people who demonstrate the potential and volition for higher assignments and more responsibility. Increasingly, firms are providing this not through inflated promotion and senior positions, but through the lateral increase in accountability.
 
The point is to keep people happy and fulfilled with the company's blessing and support. More than ever, intrinsic motivations outweighs traditional motivations like direct compensation.
 
Career development implies movement and action, not forms filled out and tickets stamped. It can't be entrusted to people who, themselves, are not being developed.
 
It's failry regular that I talk with a client about a search and when I ask about internal candidates, the reply is they have someone that could do the job, but they can't afford to lose that person in their current role. That's the travesty of the typical dysfunctional organization, everything is as the expense of the greater good. Your people deserve better.
 
Create a system of options and choices so that employees whose talents and interests are not completely met by the company can have them met with the help of the company.
  • The highest-potential people have developed tracks that are in sync with their places in the succession planning process. 
 
As I mentioned earlier, you can't expect to build a bridge without ensuring both ends meet in the middle. It's important to set up a steering committee of key people who assess whether the succession planning high-potential people are receiving the skills, coaching, and experiences they'll need for key assignments. Ensure that someone is accountable and evaluated in every instance up and down the line.
 
Once you've accomplished this, "career development" becomes an integral part of "organization development", which will be the subject of the next Human Capitalist article and the final article of this series. Look for it in our Intellectual Capital section at www.huntsearch.com, my blog at jbhunt.net or the next issue of the Human Capitalist.

WiseQuote

"Coaches who can outline plays on a blackboard are a dime a dozen. The ones who win get inside their player and motivate."

Vince Lombardi,
Pro Football Hall of Fame Coach

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