Article: Leadership – Nurturing and grooming future leaders


Leadership – Nurturing and grooming future leaders

Organisations responsibly respond to the voice of investors, customers and technology. However, voice of employees seldom gets its dues. And here lies the importance of a good leader.
Leadership – Nurturing and grooming future leaders

Post 2008 economic slowdown, global economy is witnessing a rapid change in how businesses are dealing with the challenges of best suited talent. Ever growing dilemma of lateral hiring versus home grown talent has been debated for decades now. With an increasing pressure on value proposition and tensions associated with voice of investors, customers, technology and employees, it’s imperative that businesses respond to each of these voices with a ‘serious’ commitment. 

Organisations quite naturally and responsibly (in most cases) respond to the voice of investors, customers and technology. However, voice of employees seldom gets its dues. For want of securing coveted title of ‘great place to work for’ and variety of audits,  a lot of ‘initiatives’ are ‘declared, but those are hardly backed by true budgetary & systemic commitments. 

Let me share a story to make my stand clear!

There was miser King! He has earned this name by his various penny-pinching acts and deeds. It was indeed very difficult for him to ‘give’ anything to anyone under any circumstances! One morning he was taking a stroll in the garden behind his palatial fortress along with his ministers. Birds were chirping, flowerbed was at the peak of its blossom and pond in the garden was as blue and clear as the blue above! The king wanted to gaze in the pond and the moment he bent to look at own reflection, he slipped and fell into the pond. He started drowning, and all hell broke loose.  Everyone tried their best to save him, but nothing worked. Prime minister was informed and he reached there immediately. After taking the stock of the situation he realized that the approach was flawed. He murmured something to the king and offered his hand and the king was out of the pool. Everyone were curious to know what did the prime minister whispered to the king? Prime minister revealed his secret at last! 

He exclaimed, “Till I arrived to the pond, all of you were asking his highness to ‘give’ his hand, I just told him to ‘take’ my hand and the rest is witnessed by all of you!” 

Point is, business too, needs to be assured a measurable value proposition while asking for ‘investment’ towards ‘employee initiatives’. Nurturing and grooming leaders can directly impact outcomes associated with investors, customers and technology. 

Whose responsibility is it anyway?

Ownership of assigning life to this initiative lies with executive (& collective) sponsorship! Owners (of family owned businesses), CEOs of publicly traded companies, its operational leadership teams and HR heads must co-own this program. They need to have a short-term, mid-term and long-term perspective about the business plan and then focus on the ‘projected’ leadership requirement. 

When is it ‘right’ to initiate nurturing and grooming process?

When any individual is hired to accomplish desired outcomes, every state of her/his life cycle in the company is the ‘right’ moment to initiate this process. More painstakingly newly acquired talent is integrated, made clear about what’s expected of her/him, what all she/he will be measured on, which all skill enhancements opportunities she/he will have, what potential monetary and non-monetary benefits will she/he be entitled for, will determine how successful the program will be.

Where it begins and peaks out? 

This process starts with robust learning about the nuances of the business. It’s imperative that clear alignment is established between an individual, her/his team and organization on the whole. Incumbent’s performance on the job, assessment of her/his potential via scientific assessment centres and match of individual’s aspirations and organization’s future role requirement will determine the success and predictive repeatability of this process. 

Which are the key levers of the nurturing and grooming process?

To list a critical few:

  1. Strategy about which roles will be ‘home grown’ and which would be ‘imported’ from the industry/sector outside
  2. Financial, emotional & executional commitment as well as steadiness of approach
  3. Plan, Do, Check and Act – audit mechanism to ensure efficacy of the execution
  4. Individual’s commitment to the program and continuity in the organization

What are the key considerations that are essential to be taken into account from the ‘incumbents’ point of view?

  1. The biggest of all is mutual value addition!
  2. Incumbent needs to perceive as well as experience that she/he is growing vis-à-vis:
  3. Knowledge, competence, technique, monetary benefits, Role, level and span enlargement

Organization needs to witness and is able to measure: Return On Investment, Reliability, Predictability of securing outcomes, Consistency, Ability to develop next level leaders

How to impeccably execute on the “Individual Development Plan” (IDP)?

The corner stone of IDP success is putting one together! Once that is completed and firmed up with a commitment, next level is to rigorously execute on the same. Initiatives could be few, but schedule adherence, efficacy, consequence management needs to be extremely tight!

In short, this process is no less than passion of a sculptor! You need to dream of the creation and keep at it till it comes to the life! 

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Topics: Leadership, Leadership Development

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