A Diamond in the Rough: Identifying Qualified Candidates For Business Leadership

Determining your future management needs is very difficult with today’s baby boomers retiring. Learn how to build a effective plan to identify and train emerging leaders through executive coaching.

canstockphoto49928082Developing the right talent today will ideally contribute to tomorrow’s business success. In our last issue, we talked about Jane and the challenge in determining whether she was qualified to receive the investment in executive coaching to move her to the next level. Jane has courage, humility, and discipline but is lacking in several critical competencies that could cause her to fail.  To determine her potential, due diligence must be completed to make a very thoughtful decision. As an organization, evident criteria must be developed for future business needs and accurate data gathered on the employee to which one needs to compare to the criteria. The most common method to collect this information is to complete a Marshall Goldsmith Global Leader Stakeholder-Centered 360 assessment, which is offered by Golden Professional Coaching LLC.

To ensure the achievement of any succession planning effort, the executive board will need to identify any significant business challenges they anticipate in the upcoming one-to-five years. Critical positions required to support business continuity must be identified and flagged along with the competencies individuals will need to be successful in situations to meet the defined business challenges. The process is used to develop a pool of talent to step into critical positions as employees leave or retire.

To illustrate this point, let’s again look at Jane’s profile. The mission statement should include a statement about the organization’s ethical values. For example, if the company is concerned about the employee’s work/life balance, Jane’s behavior regarding overtime could be a checkmark against moving her up the ladder. Conversely, if the company has a five-year strategy to improve research and development to drive more business, Jane might just fit the business need and, therefore, be worth investing in executive coaching.

“If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.” Henry David Thoreau

Succession planning can only be helpful when the process is supporting business strategies and goals. Often businesses are completing succession planning without a goal in mind. Executives need to be vested in the process to ensure its success. They will need to clearly define and manage the development of key talent. Employees will also need to understand their role in the process and know what is expected of them.

Developing the Talent Pool

“Unleash the potential that is in another and you unleash the potential that is in you.” Matshona Dhliwayo

The C-Suite executives begin the succession planning process by identifying their business challenges and critical positions for the next one-to-five years. The following steps in the plan development are to gather data on all employees. This data should include name, address, marital status, college degree(s), previous jobs (employers), awards, top 5-6 skills, bottom 5-6 skills, willingness to relocate, foreign languages in which they are fluent, career interests, and desire to move into a leadership role. Each employee should complete a pre-prepared form with this information and provide it to his/her manager.

The Nine-Box Model

Managers have a crucial responsibility at this stage, which is to place each employee in the correct location on the nine-box grid. The nine-box model is one of the most widely used tools in succession planning and leadership development today. The model is typically used to assess individuals on two dimensions including their past performance and their future potential.

The X-axis (horizontal line) of three boxes assesses performance, and the Y-axis of three boxes (vertical line) assesses leadership potential. A combination of Y and X axis makes up the box within the grid in which each employee is placed.

Below is an example of a typical nine-box chart from VIA Consulting, who has some beautiful materials available for no charge. More often than not, there are three categories for performance and three categories for the potential of the employee.  This type of grid can easily be customized to meet the needs of the business.  The horizontal line places the employee in a performance assessment placement from Low Performer (first row) to High Performer (3rdRow). Next, the employee is evaluated against leadership potential using the vertical line. The first column indicates that the employee does not have future potential with the 3rdcolumn indicates the employee has high potential.

9box

While an individual leader can use the nine-boxes to assess their own employees, the real value to this process is when a leadership team uses the nine-box grid as part of a “talent review” to have a discussion about the entire organization’s collective talent. Once the nine-box grids have been completed by each manager, each division should complete a talent review and identify back-fills for each critical position. Employees in the division should be ranked by potential and performance. Plans should be developed to resolve the issues with the low performer/low potential associates. These individuals will hold the company back. Finally, each division will present their high-potentials and company will recognize their high-potentials and their diamonds in the rough.

“Many people think of management as cutting deals and laying people off and hiring people and buying and selling companies. That’s not management; that’s deal-making. Management is the opportunity to help people become better people. Practiced that way, it’s a magnificent profession.” –Clayton M. Christensen

Now that we have identified the vital back-fill individuals for the critical positions, we also need to identify the individuals that will back-fill the key individuals. These individuals come from the middle column (top two rows) and are perfect candidates for executive coaching. We know they will likely hold leadership roles in the next one-to-five years, but also know they are not ready. Now could we go out and offer managers off the street for these positions? Most certainly we could use that approach, but the real cost/benefit of doing so just does not work.

First, the cost of recruitment is generally three times the person’s salary. Then there is training. The best case for a new employee is six months but more likely a year. Then there is the break in continuity of having an employee that understands the company model. These costs far exceed the cost of an executive coach, which averages 25% of the employee’s salary.

Golden Professional Coaching offers professional executive coaching to the diamonds in the rough using the Marshall Goldsmith Stakeholder Centered Coaching method. If you are interested in a program with a 95% success rate, please contact us at mkuniski@me.com. It is time to take those diamonds in the rough and turn them into your company’s future leaders!

http://www.goldenprofessionalcoaching.com

Courage, Humility and Discipline – Building On The Foundation

Looking for the most important competencies when selecting leaders to move up in the organization? Look no further. This blog outlines exactly what you are looking for in an upcoming executive.

Over the last several weeks, we have been reviewing the keys to leadership development. As a certified Marshall Goldsmith Stakeholder Centered Coach, I look for three leadership traits in individuals before selecting a client for a coaching program and selecting the coaching program I will use.

First, the leader must have humility. Although he or she may be the highest rank leader in the organization, they need to be willing to accept suggestions and recommendations from their team to maximize their success.

Courage is essential for all leaders because all must have the willingness to change. Nelson Mandela once said, ” I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” As we make a change, we will have success, or we will fail. Either outcome will require courage.

Lastly, leaders need to have discipline. The difference between good and great leaders often comes down to control. So my question is this – how disciplined are you as a leader? While subjecting yourself to the rigor of discipline is not easy, it is essential if one wants to maximize their effectiveness as a leader.

Let’s now consider that we have selected Jane to be part of the executive coaching program. She is a high potential leader in the organization and is projected to move a least two levels in management over the next three years. Jane has a couple habits that are holding her back. The administration wants to help her eliminate those habits but is not quite sure how to address them. She completes a tremendous amount of work, but her team feels that her communication with them is weak and are frustrated with never knowing when they will have to work overtime. Jane does not understand this because she works hard to provide a clear expectation of what needs to be done, when it should be done, and how it should be done. In fact, Jane is so clear about her demands she easily could be classified as an autocratic leader.

Autocratic leaders are firmly focused on command by the leader and control of the followers. There is also a clear division between the leader and the members. Authoritarian leaders make decisions independently with little or no input from the rest of the group. Jane’s team resents the fact that they are not working together to create a shared vision on how to get the work done, They have ideas on how to reduce the time it takes to get the assignments completed, but Jane does not encourage any constructive dialog on these assignments. She just accepts the work and assigns it out. Some question Jane’s integrity and believe she is merely trying to make a name for herself.

Communication

Jane is failing in the communication competency. She needs to develop a shared vision with her team on what they stand for and what type of service they will provide. Her integrity is being questioned so it would be helpful if Jane would switch her leadership style to a participative manner, which would be much more effective. Team members would be encouraged to engage in constructive dialog and their opinions respected. Participative leaders encourage group members to participate in discussions, but the leader retains the final say in the decision-making process. Group members feel part of the process and are more motivated and creative.

Associate Engagement

Moving to a participative leadership style will encourage associate engagement as well – another of Jane’s weaknesses. One of the concerns of moving Jane up the ladder is there is no one on her team to replace her. As a leader in the organization, one of Jane’s responsibilities is to develop people to fill leadership roles.  Since Jane does not talk with her team much, she really has no idea who might fill her position when she is promoted. Jane could experience multiple benefits by identifying a team member that could be trained to fill-in when she is not available. Jane would benefit from having someone to whom she could delegate some of her work. Her employees would see that if they worked hard, there is an opportunity for advancement. She would begin building partnerships with her team and peers by sharing leadership of her department and provide better service.

Continuous Change

Jane is one of the few leaders in the organization who loves change. She sees continuous change as an opportunity to generate new business. Jane is always anticipating new opportunities in the global organization and works hard to bring these opportunities to the engineers. The challenge that Jane has is throwing the unique opportunity over the wall to the engineer and failing to follow-up. Jane feels like she is way too busy to help the engineer develop the market availability for the opportunity, but building a backup supervisor on her team might open some time for her to do that work. As Jane moves up the ladder, she will need to find new business opportunities and build them by developing the ROI on the project. She needs to learn how to lead change.

Boundary-less Inclusion

As a global organization, Jane may benefit from moving to an expatriate assignment to improve her ability to think globally. She currently works with an offshore team to manage her customer’s EDI processing but has never lived in a foreign country. Jane will need to empower her team in her new country as she needed to do in the U.S. Jane will need to understand and value diversity. She needs to understand and live the culture to ensure she is not rude to her peers and employees. Building the mentality of boundary-less inclusion can be challenging for Jane. A good attitude and foreign experience will be invaluable to her long-term success as a leader.

Assuring Success

Jane’s success is an indicator of our success as an Executive Coach. She is part of the millennial generation and seems to have a natural ability to understand and recommend technology advances to help the organization. Jane would benefit by acting as a business lead for an upcoming systems project. Doing so would require her to count on her team and empower them to make decisions. Leading a project would strengthen her interpersonal relationships and improve her ability to influence change through collaboration rather than control and command. Since most of the developers are offshore, Jane would need to value diversity to ensure the developers understood the requirements of the project.

Final Thoughts

Is Jane the right individual for this company to encourage growth through leadership training and development? Should she go on the list as a high-potential for a future executive position? Jane has the three foundational attributes – Courage, Humility, and Discipline, but are her five competencies strong enough? Can she 1) assure success through 2) communication, and 3) engaging people? Can she manage 4) continuous change and willingly accept 5) boundary-less inclusion. You decide!  Comment on your thoughts as to whether Jane can be a successful executive.

Looking for help coaching your high-potential leaders. Visit goldenprofessionalcoaching.com for information on how to get started or contact mkuniski@me.com.

GoldenProfessionalCoaching.com

Effective Succession Planning – The Silver Bullet For Successful Companies

How do I select the next leader in my company. This series reviews the need for succession planning and identifies the key traits and competencies of successful future leaders.

 

canstockphoto22287038

THE SILVER BULLET

In last week’s blog post we pointed out that experienced leaders are retiring at an alarming rate leaving organizations without a pool of leaders from which to choose to fill open roles. Many companies are also ignoring the growth and development of future leaders due to budget shortfalls and lack of commitment to training and development. If a company does not invest in leadership training for its high-potential employees, those individuals are likely to leave and find opportunity and deeper engagement elsewhere. For most people, leadership is a skill that begins in their youth but must be nurtured throughout their career. Companies cannot approach leadership selection and train the same way they approach other opportunities in the company. Leadership selection and training must feel special and be engrained as a core component of the organization’s culture.

This week we will address the characteristics of an optimal leader so that companies have a framework from which to choose the best candidates to fill future roles in your organization. According to Marshall Goldsmith, number one executive coach in the world, successful leaders must maintain the traits of humility, courage, and discipline. These traits coupled with five competencies can build a successful employee into an excellent leader. In this blog, we will review the essential traits and next week we will talk about the core competencies required of a successful leader including solid communication, people engagement, boundary-less inclusion, assuring success, and continuous change.

 “Successful people become great leaders when they learn to shift the focus from themselves to others.”
― Marshall GoldsmithWhat Got You Here Won’t Get You There: How Successful People Become Even More Successful

Humility

Holding a position of power may be useful for a person’s ego, but successful leaders ensure that their employees know that their leader is not above his/her shortcomings. Leaders cannot be afraid of their failures. We all fail at some point, but what matters is the way we pick ourselves up and learn from our mistakes. Learning from our mistakes is what helps us grow and be stronger. When employees recognize that failure is natural, even for leaders, they will feel more open-minded and confident. Excellent leaders involve their stakeholders with suggestions to improve their performance and that of their department. They consider all recommendations, accept the ones that make sense and make changes as appropriate. Strong leaders admit they are not perfect and demonstrate leadership growth.

“No matter how good you think you are as a leader, my goodness, the people around you will have all kinds of ideas for how you can get better. So for me, the most fundamental thing about leadership is to have the humility to continue to get feedback and to try to get better – because your job is to try to help everybody else get better. ”  Jim Yong Kim

Courage

Leaders need to have the courage to get out of their comfort zone and try new things. They need to be vulnerable, rethink deeply held beliefs, and do what it takes to change. Excellent leaders stand behind their employees and speak up for initiatives in which they believe. New leaders need to learn how to use the power of facts and financials rather than emotion to justify his/her actions. Also, one of the most challenging adjustments a new leader has to make is learning how to handle disagreements or issues. Leaders want to be fair and balanced while avoiding potential conflict, which sometimes can be difficult. In fact, managers often veer away from confrontation and try to avoid it at all costs. New leaders need to create an environment that encourages continuous feedback on both sides. Once they receive feedback, leaders should not criticize or make excuses for the suggestion. Rather they should respond with a simple thank you to the employee for the suggestion.

“Success is not final: Failure is not fatal, it is the courage to continue that counts.”

Winston Churchill

Discipline

Leaders need to be able to implement and hone their behavior, habits, and processes. A key indicator of the success of a future leader is the employees’ ability to recognize undesirable behaviors and change them. The employee should also be able to graciously accept criticism from his/her stakeholders and make positive changes in his/her behavior based on that feedback. Making leadership change stick is all about creating more effective habits and processes, which requires disciplined execution of an action plan developed after receiving input from stakeholders. Accepting and responding to stakeholder feedback can be difficult for some employees. When that is the case, developing a successful leader with this employee could be questionable.

“Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishments!  Jon Rohn

Final Thoughts

Baby boomers are quickly retiring leaving holes in the leadership of many companies. Recognizing the employees that have potential to be outstanding leaders is a natural outcome during a succession planning process. Executive coaching needs to begin as soon as possible once these high-potential employees are identified. Companies who invest in coaching receive a 4% to 8% return on their investment. Golden Professional Coaching is a certified Marshall Goldsmith Executive Coaching firm and certified in the John Mattone Emotional Intelligence leadership development approach. Golden Professional Coaching is ready to take on the challenge of coaching your high-potential employees to be the best leaders on your team. Contact Mary Kuniski at mkuniski@me.comfor more information.

GoldenProfessionalCoaching.com

“One of the things we often miss in succession planning is that it should be gradual and thoughtful, with lots of sharing of information and knowledge and perspective, so that it’s almost a non-event when it happens.”       Anne M. Mulcahy