Trajectory for 2017: Are your managers and their direct reports progressing toward their career objectives?
Our analysis of high performing leaders in a large, high tech company identified six key accomplishments that were critical to their success. In this article, we’ll share the fourth and fifth accomplishments and the core tasks these mangers demonstrated to produce those results. (Click here to read the first three.)
A significant discovery from our analysis of these managers was that they maintained a consistent focus on helping their team members develop within their current role AND prepare for their future aspirational roles. This focus showed up in teams that demonstrated a high level of engagement in the success of the team, high retention and positive attrition (people leaving the team for the types of roles/promotions that were good for the individual and the organization). How did these managers accomplish this? They were committed to the organizations career development model and, more importantly, they had a personal commitment to serving as a coach/mentor to their direct reports.
Let me share an extreme example of this type of manager. Several years ago I had lunch with Dave Nelson, the retired Chief Procurement Officer (CPO) of Honda Motor Manufacturing. He had focused throughout his career in hiring the best talent and committing himself to their professional development, even if it meant that they passed him in their careers. At the time we had lunch, twenty-two of the Fortune 100 CPOs were former direct reports of Dave’s.
Are your direct reports developing in order to be an exemplary performer in their current role?
There is no better predictor of future success than what you achieve in your current role. Strong managers provide focused feedback, precision coaching, formal/informal recognition and rewards to their direct reports in order to help them excel where they are today. A chief tool for doing this successfully is the Profile of Exemplary Performance. You can find more information about this in Exemplary Performance – Driving Business Results by Benchmarking Your Star Performers by Dr. Paul H. Elliott and Dr. Al Folsom.
4th Major Accomplishment: Self and direct reports’ consistent progress towards career aspirations and development plans.
- Direct reports are promoted based on their experience, demonstration of competency, and delivery of results in light of business need.
- Direct report progresses within role.
- Manager progresses within role or to next career objective.
Here are some key activities/tasks that great managers did to ensure direct reports and the manager him/herself were consistently progressing towards their career aspirations:
Task 1: Conduct career discussions with each direct report, using HR tools and processes.
Task 2: Plan for and take part in your own career development discussions with your manager and mentor(s).
Task 3: Prepare for and conduct a development coaching session with a direct report.
Task 4: Discuss career aspirations in regular one-on-ones with direct reports.
Task 5: Identify and arrange for in-group or cross-group career development opportunities for direct reports.
5th Major Accomplishment: Well-developed and high performing direct reports.
- Each employee meets or exceeds their respective commitments.
- Merit increases and promotions align with expected team and individual commitments and company guidelines.
- Leadership and others acknowledge the quality of manager’s team performance and contributions to the organization.
- Managers accurately report back on training requirements for employees and for the team as a whole.
Here are some key activities/tasks that great managers did to ensure direct reports and/or teams were well highly competent:
Task 1: Follow through with direct reports after development activities to facilitate improved job performance.
Task 2: Promote and encourage sharing of best practice and lessons learned among the team.
Task 3: Conduct an effective one-on-one meeting with each direct report.
Task 4: Prepare for and conduct a constructive feedback session with a direct report.
Task 5: Ensure that training for direct reports is relevant, utilized, and improves performance.
You will find that these key accomplishments are part of the Expectations/Feedback and Skills/Knowledge subsystems of the Exemplary Performance System. As a manager, when these six subsystems are aligned, your organization will be on the trajectory you architected for 2017.
Reach out to us at: firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll be glad to work with you during the remaining months of 2017.