First, we will discuss the first step which is to decide what type of qualities and skills future executives in the organization need. After determining the qualities and skills the organization needs, we will talk about employees and how they're chosen to be developed and groomed for executive positions. While flexibility is crucial and management doesn't want to be too stringent when it comes to finding individuals who "check all the boxes" there has to be general guidelines to ensure the process is fair and ultimately effective.
We will also go over how a program needs to be both fair and accurate there have to be anticipated results that are specific and measurable and how it's also necessary to check progress during the course of development and not wait until employees finish the entire program. This means not only designing specific end goals that should be reached but measurable benchmarks during the process.
Defining skills needed, determining which employees fit the criteria, developing content and instructional methods, and designing measurable results can be used as a blueprint for nearly any organization hoping to develop executive leadership from within. While each organization's plan will look different, it's crucial for a company to spend the necessary time and resources creating the best program possible to develop executives from among their current pool of employees.
There are two ways to do this. The first is to recognize current gaps or future gaps in leadership. Who has recently left the organization or will be retiring in the near future? What leadership qualities and skills do these individuals possess that have been integral to the company's success? The second way is to pinpoint the values that are important to the organization. These will not always be the same for each company. There are, however, several specific skills that most executive level employees should have. These include the following: • Communication Skills - Good communication skills include being able to interact and relay information at various levels as well as the ability to listen, observe, and empathize. • Negotiation Skills - This involves the ability to persuade, compromise, and cooperate with peers and superiors. • Decision Making Skills - This is a crucial skill that entails accurately assessing individual situations, applying complex problem solving, and then selecting and implementing the best solutions. • Technical and Conceptual Skills - Whether it's law, finance, education, or any other specialized area, the position each potential leader is being developed for will require expertise in that specific field.
SHRM advises against using basic off-the-shelf or game-based assessments. Assessments should be as specific as possible and professionally validated. The best process for identifying executive potential would usually include a variety of criteria. Criteria should be as objective as possible, reliable, and transparent. The process could include a combination of the following: • List Specific Criteria - Criteria could include specific achievements, degrees, or certifications held. Proven expertise in certain fields or subject matter might also be used as a way to indentify employees. • Recommendations from Management - Recommendations from a variety of supervisors can also be used as ways to identify executive potential. • Leadership Ability Assessment Test - Project Manager describes several types of assessment tools that can help an organization determine which employees have the most executive potential. These include personality tests and emotional intelligence assessments.
The content used will be dependent on the specific skills and qualities that were defined in step one. Edge Training states that instructional methods should include a blended approach that utilizes a variety of learning systems. Employees will come from different backgrounds, have diverse learning styles, and may have already developed some of the desired skills. An excellent program will, as much as possible, provide personalized learning that is tailored to each employee's specific needs and learning styles. It also needs to be relevant and specific to the business context. It's usually a good idea to provide both internal and external instruction and training. External options could include everything from attending conferences to taking online classes. Internal instruction is just as important because employees are being groomed for positions within the organization. It's necessary to choose internal instructors who already have a proven track record of exceptional leadership and executive success. Besides traditional conferences and classroom education, the following are several learning methods to incorporate into an internal program. • Shadowing - Shadowing involves having an employee follow and observe another employee for a specified time period. This is one of the easiest yet most effective ways to start developing future leaders. • Mentoring - Mentoring is when a more experienced employee acts as a guide or an advisor to a less experienced employee. Kent State University points out several distinct differences between mentoring and coaching. Mentoring is more long term than coaching, tends to be informal, and the mentor is usually found within the organization. • Coaching - Coaches are often hired from outside of an organization and selected for their expertise. Coaching is more formal, structured, and performance driven. Coaching is often short term when compared to mentoring. • Action Learning - This is situational development. It occurs when employees are placed in situations that require personal growth and development. This stage of development would normally occur after a period of shadowing and coaching, and may occur within the context of mentoring.
There are a few ways a company can measure results. The first includes implementing a method such as the Kirkpatrick Evaluation Model. This particular method includes several clear steps to measure effectiveness. Level 1 - Reaction - How have employees reacted to the program? Discuss what skills were learned and the overall strengths and weaknesses of the program. Level 2 - Learning - Measuring learning can include test scores, instructor feedback, and certification completion. Level 3 - Behavior - This might include questionnaires regarding self-assessment, feedback from managers and peers, and taking customer and client surveys. Level 4 - Results - Results can ultimately be measured by increased productivity, increased sales, employee retention, and higher morale. These results should be time-bound. For example, within 6 months productivity or sales should increase by a certain percentage. If an organization decides to craft their own way to measure results, the methods should be objective and time-bound if possible. The program should include some of the following: • How many employees successfully finished the development program? • How many of these employees were promoted to leadership positions within a specified time frame? • What type of feedback was received from the employees that finished the program? What was the feedback from the employees' peers, and the instructors? • How high is retention in certain departments 6 months after the program ended in comparison to before?