managemnet company strategy managemanet Are You Failing to Prepare the Next Generation of C-Suite Leaders?

Are You Failing to Prepare the Next Generation of C-Suite Leaders?

Are You Failing to Prepare the Next Generation of C-Suite Leaders? post thumbnail image

By Chris Thornton

“Let’s just get through it.”

For many human leaders, that has been the mantra for the past three years. “We will finish this time in time, focus on short-term solutions for our immediate needs, and when things return to normal, we will deal with all the issues we put on the backburner.”

Now is the time to tackle the issues: new business models; supply chain; environmental, social, and governance (ESG); new ways of working; new technologies; new talent needed; new productivity gaps. And executives realize that the bank of future leaders lacks the skills, knowledge, and capabilities to lead their companies in the future.

It is not enough to ask Learning and Development teams to conduct leadership trainings on how to be kind, lead virtual teams, and have bold conversations. While this is often fine and dandy, micro exercises don’t solve macro problems—and I’m here to tell you that they won’t make a difference.

What is needed now is a complete change in how organizations develop and prepare their leaders to move their company into the future and propel themselves into the C-suite.

You might be thinking, “Upskilling? We’ve been doing that for years!” And you’re right. It’s often used as a long-term investment that can perform.

But while it was once a “nice to have,” it’s now a business-critical priority.

Of course, every organization has needs that run the gamut from the incredibly strategic to the deeply personal—some need their people leaders to transform entire functions, solve their supply chain challenges supply, and retain customers, while others need leaders in their people to accelerate their digital transformation, demonstrate flexibility. , and show empathy.

Whatever the case, here are three ways organizations can get started and find the right steps to align the skills of people leaders with the goals of the C-suite:

De-silo your research and be brave.

Most companies are drowning in employee and candidate data. The problem is not the number; it’s connection. Employee and candidate data only tell part of the story, and often HR owns and protects that data.

Why is this important? Because very few listening tools can help a front-line manager identify the future skills their team needs to meet customers’ needs.

So, what to do? Stop looking at employee feedback in isolation and start connecting it to consumer, customer, and departmental data—including consultant and spend teams. Create a cross-functional team that is responsible for telling the whole story about what your people need, especially your people’s leaders.

Ask the team to identify where they failed in the customer experience. Ask them why employees leave and how it affects colleagues. Ask them if you hire consultants to solve problems that our own team needs to solve.

Create your own list of painful, hard questions, and ask the team to see what the data can tell you.

No one in your organization can own this view except the C-suite. So don’t look for someone else to allow it. CEO, CHRO/CPO, CFO, COO…you own it.

Stop focusing on symptoms and start focusing on root causes.

We’ve all heard the phrase, “People don’t leave bad jobs, they leave bad managers.” People also leave companies thinking that a meditation app will pay for leaders who don’t know how to lead.

I didn’t knock the mediation apps. (I have two on my phone). But asking the right questions and getting to the root of what needs to change across the business to achieve growth goals is critical.

Offering employees a free subscription to a meditation app may have a positive impact on everyday employees, but it won’t solve what’s causing them to feel stressed and burned out in the first place.

Instead, to reduce blood pressure and increase job satisfaction, leaders can ask questions like: “Are the leaders of our people trained to lead?” “Do they know how to communicate strategy and translate it for their teams?” “Do people’s leaders know how to show the last thinking and acting?” “Do people leaders know what is required of them to achieve C-suite goals?” And then ask “why” as you begin the process to identify root causes.

Activate the business to achieve C-suite goals.

Now that you’ve gathered feedback and collected data, it’s time to activate the skills and expertise that people leaders—and the entire business—need to achieve C-suite goals.

To do this, leaders must determine where the skill gaps are, identify what skills people leaders lack, and decide what skills to develop to lead the organization in the future. . Now is the time to develop training and build a culture of learning to facilitate leaders of people, and to equip them with the skills they need.

But it doesn’t end there. With continuous and holistic learning, your organization should set goals and targets for success. The 70/20/10 model does a lot here, meaning 70% of training is done through on-the-job experience, 20% is done through relationships and interactions with others, and 10% is done from formal training and education. In addition to this, a measurement process will show if the training is making a difference. It’s not just about how the trainees feel—it’s about connecting training back to business results.

None of this is easy. It takes a little courage, some C-suite ownership, and a lot of curiosity. Your managers hold your teams together, and they deserve to be set up to succeed, learn, and grow into the next generation of leaders.

Chris Thornton is the Senior Principal of the Daggerwing Group.

Find out how Daggerwing can help your organization create a culture of learning.

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