Assume you are a senior leader with the bright vision you want to have successors ensuring company business for years ahead. Well, if you are concerned about how much is your organization prepared for facing future challenges with current leadership teams, you are not alone. In the paper “The new path forward” it has been highlighted that organizations and employees need to put in practice improvements if they want to run from not working leadership development and career management. Authors describe a big chasm between what employees are looking for as their career and what support is provided by their managers. Together with that disturbance, organizations often provide conflicting messages to employees about career paths, development plans, etc.
In the modern organization, there are three key challenges that stop employees to become future leaders. They are described as 3Cs.
This C is all connected with the number of leaders you have in your organization on a different level of the hierarchy . There is a real threat to lose your brightest talents because you, as a leader lack to plan with them real development steps, with winning results for both – them and your organization.
One of the biggest gaps you can face as a leader, who tries to develop talents is the lack of experience or skills you can face. Even if you have the brightest talents and have identified them you will still face the challenge to make them build missing knowledge, experience and skills to help them build confidence at work and readiness to face challenges from a higher level.
The biggest trait you can face as a leader in your organization culture. Many organizations fail in developing their brightest talents and lose them because they just don’t have a strong culture of development and growth established. If your organization lacks a culture of growth then you as a leader has a lot to do, to change that.
There are also scary statistics that say that professionals developing talents within organizations say that in less than 5 years their organizations will lose the internal capabilities they have now and will struggle with innovation and ability to grow and execute their business strategy. On top of that, in a research conducted by CEB, more than 70% of employees share that their primary driver of attrition is lack of career opportunities and it is even positioned higher as the compensation and management style.
Although this statistics is not surprising you as a leader still need to work hard on bringing meaningfulness at work and work on fitting the person with their job, to ensure the igher level of engagement and accountability.
Another thing that you may need to look like a leader are the traditional approaches to development that are still in the game. They need to change and it is up to you to change them for good.
Look at the way your organization designs career paths
The traditional approach to creating career paths is around positions and jobs. Traditionalists in career development plan series of roles that are linked to the final position as a destination. This destination is somehow an implicitly promised one. By this approach typically the career path is a vertical move, relying on the progress of moving from one role to another in a particular timeframe. Employees expect the way how their careers will move forward. But the traditional way works in organizations with hierarchy. These days, most of the organizations have flat structures and progression seen as a vertical move looks unrealistic or less possible. This approach does not bring value in organizations that are inflexible or work on agile principle.
Design career around experience
Growing employees in an agile environment mean to design careers based on experience rather than positions. Careers designed around experience emphasize the importance of gaining experience to build key capabilities. Through them, employees will receive guidance to grow with the organization. They will feel less pushed and will become less frustrated about the possible lack of progression and more prepared when they have to take over new and more complex roles. The important shift you need to make here as a leader is to establish the way you define progression. Stop defining progression as titles, pay and job grades. If you teach your employees to define progress in those terms then you will directly influence their level of engagement and accountability if you can’t offer that to them. Instead of defining progression through job titles, grades and promotions, focus on employability as capabilities, skills, knowledge, experiences, achievements and personal characteristics. While being closer to the person, employability creates a higher-quality workforce. It’s valuable for the organizations because they can have more flexibility in answering to business needs and, at the same time, employability increases employees career path satisfaction.
Change your management and people
In the traditional way, most employees have moved through positions in their own departments or functions. Employees move to the next step in the ladder every time an opportunity arises. But with the flatter organization and changing environment, your role as a leader is to think different. While the environment is changed and structures are going more flatter you will need to re-think how you manage and how you develop people. The vertical move approach cannot support anymore the organizational development. Old perceptions don’t align when it comes to internal job opportunities. The new reality positions opportunities across the whole organization. That is why, as a leader, instead of developing people in silos, you need to develop a more collective view, by helping them chose were across the organization they want to develop their next great skill and gain experience to build winning capabilities for the future. But as a leader, you need to plan all these internal moves, not only helping the individual to grow, but also ensuring through them business growth and sustainability in time.
During the last decade there were many pieces of research made about how organizations must change to face a new reality and it’s demanded. But if leaders stay with the old approaches, tactics, and methods then all those researches, studies and models created around them will be no worth. Today ‘s leaders must understand and accept that the world has changed. Most of the traditional approaches still work and will probably work for some time in the future, but if you as a leader want to achieve all business results and ensure your company growth and sustainability in time, the first thing you have to start changing are your attitudes. After you made it here, you will be able to change others and the environment successfully.