Successful leaders make successful companies. But these leaders aren’t born, although admittedly some people have some natural management talent. Mainly, successful leaders are the result of training and ongoing development. It therefore makes sense to train and nurture your leaders from within.
Whether you spot potential in greener recruits and engage them in training over a period of years, or take your more senior staff and put them through intensive training, the fact remains that it suits both your organisation and your employees to spot and nurture their talent from within. This will help to ensure company-standard management best practice and also save on expensive hires from outside.
Indeed, in a world where your competitors can copy your products and services overnight, the only remaining competitive advantage is your people – especially if you have trained and quality-stamped them with your own training programme. Companies that make management development a strategic priority have a huge competitive edge in business – they often find themselves right at the top of the pile.
Focus on your best people
People development is the CEO’s job and it must be a priority. Indeed, people and management development must become an intrinsic part of your organisation’s culture.
Focus your development efforts on your best people rather than trying to patch up problem employees. This may appear a controversial statement, but people development is not about a quick fix to troubleshoot under-performers. Rather, it is a long-term plan to turn good employees into first-class employees.
Priority-based action plan
Grow your managers with an individual, customised development plan for each one. In this plan, you should identify their developmental priorities and create an action plan based on these. Conduct monthly progress meetings and have your key managers engage in this process with their people.
Crucial to the development of a manager is their buy-in. Somebody has to want to develop (and indeed, become a leader) in order to benefit from training. On the same tack, pull, don’t push, throughout the development programme, and start out slowly by selecting a couple of your best managers for development. When their colleagues start to realise the benefits, they will want to become engaged as well.
Set an example
Leadership starts from the very top, so, if you are a CEO, the best way to demonstrate your commitment to your company’s development programme is to undertake it yourself. Don’t attempt this alone, though. Keeping your plan visible and sharing it with an objective third party makes it more likely that you will achieve your goals.
Targeted training is key
It is possible to create very specific plans based on the needs of the individual concerned – for example, management training to be a second-in-command, group management training for management teams, and even first-line management training for those younger recruits on their first step of the management ladder.
Giving your people targeted and transparent training and development can help to ensure that your business is full of strong leaders who can carry you all the way to success.
About Terry Irwin
Terry Irwin is the founder and CEO of TCii Strategic and Management Consultants. Born and brought up in Wales, he studied Economics and Marketing at university, followed by an MBA.
Before setting up TCii, Terry spent over 20 years in the corporate world with GSK and Henkel, managing consumer goods and services businesses, living in 14 different countries and working in 30 in Europe, North America, Asia and the Russian Federation. He has also served as a UK Director of Carphone Warehouse and as a Non-Executive Director of Holt Lloyd.
Terry has consulted for a wide range of businesses, from multinationals to start-ups and growing organisations. He has a “hands on” approach and stays involved with client projects through to the achievement of agreed results.
His areas of expertise include:
· Business and strategic planning and implementation
· Business turnaround, outsourcing and cost reduction
· Acquisitions, mergers and post-acquisition integration
· International trade and distribution
· Venture capital
· Exit strategy
· Organisational development
· Succession planning
· Board-level executive coaching
· Sourcing key people – both executive and non-executive – for clients.