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Dear Workforce How Do I Develop A Career Path For Executives

How we can develop a career path for executives for the next 10 years?
March 19, 2004
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Related Topics: Career Development, Behavioral Training, Performance Appraisals, Employee Career Development, Dear Workforce
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Dear Where to Start:

The first tenet of any executive development program is to have ample talent to develop. In addition to innovative hiring practices, an organization must have a stellar employer brand (i.e., employer-of-choice reputation). Employees have sophisticated, often skeptical, perceptions about the marketing of employment relationships; independent and authentic valuation of a company's commitment to people is essential.
Further exacerbating the problem of creating a long-term executive development program is the nomadic employment behavior exhibited during the late 1990s. This behavior is likely to rebound with the economy as Gen X and Gen Y employees wonder if "this is all there is?" and demand greater meaning from their life's work--not to mention competitive pay, comprehensive benefits, and healthy work environments.
As the external pool of candidates will be smaller and extremely competitive, having a strong bench of internal candidates will be a crucial source of competitive advantage. Therefore, the 10-year strategy must be comprehensive in its approach. We recommend integrating three things. These will which nurture a culture that genuinely values learning, provides realistic work-life balance, and demonstrates ethical values throughout the organization.
Performance Management. At every career stage, meaningful feedback is vital. Unfortunately, many organizations get so distracted by the performance management process that they lose sight of its purpose. Simply put, managers must communicate effectively (frequently, clearly, and two-way) to ensure employees understand responsibilities, and have a realistic perception of performance and appropriate advancement/development opportunities.
Succession Planning. What are the critical roles? Who fills them? What is the optimal tenure? While workforce-management professionals are very familiar with these questions, succession is often considered to be largely just a workforce-management concern. Organizations excel at building a pipeline of talent when both business unit and corporate executives agree that shaping careers of future leaders is their responsibility as stewards of the company.
Leadership Development. The technical and managerial skills needed to excel are obvious components of leadership development. So too is the need for a global perspective in a world made increasing small by technology. Creating a vision, driving change, and valuing diversity are expected leader competencies. What leaders know will not be significantly different a decade hence, but the speed for decision-making will continue to increase. As organizations become even more electronically egalitarian (e.g., e-mail access to the CEO), leaders must "think on their keyboards." Employees, customers, and competitors have access to more information than ever before and will continue to get smarter and expect more of those in leadership positions. Lastly, but most importantly, is the need to ethically ensure organizations by demanding commitment to a code of conduct. As ethical horror stories continue to appear in the media--and courtrooms--it is evident that ethics must be an integral part of leader development.
Although it is advisable to have a template or set of templates for career paths--to reap the true value of diversity and appeal to the very talent the organization is hoping to develop--the organization develops its high-potential employees in a wide variety of ways. Expatriate assignments don't work, for example, for two-career couples (nor do they work well for the manager who is 'out of sight, out of mind').
In terms of return on human capital, the development of the best and brightest into leaders of the organization requires workforce-management professionals to be fully engaged as the strategic partners of the business. You should analyze each position within the talent pipeline, produce a custom and proprietary development plan which is as valuable as new product R&D projections or other business strategies. With criteria to ensure equitable selection of high-potential leaders, custom career path and development plans can be produced. A comprehensive career plan--one that reflects the employee's individual interests--is an important part of a culture that values its workforce and a strong builder of the employer brand, which is the key ingredient to attracting future generations of leaders.
SOURCE: Jeanne T. Lambkin, Associate Principal, Buck Consultants, Inc., Boston, Massachusetts, March 28, 2003.
LEARN MORE: Please readWhy You Need Workforce Planning.
The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.
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