Authored by: Roger Pearman
Lillian graduated with a degree in materials engineering and promptly started a small granite top custom shop for countertops in kitchens and bathrooms. Ten years later, she has four c-suite leaders, 14 managers (projects and accounts), and 148 individual contributors responsible for all the front-line work. While the business grew, she realized that she had not paid attention to all of the talent questions and issues, and she knew something was missing in terms of the kind of workplace she wanted for all of her employees.
I asked her to talk about the future she wanted for the company. “What are your business goals, and what is the culture you want to nurture?” I asked. Then I had her sort 9 roles and 35 leader practices in terms of what is absolutely essential to what is nice to have that will get her where she wants to be.
As she looked at her sort, she said, “Oh my. It is clear what we are missing. It is vital that we address talent management for the future, and I’ve ignored it like people with the flu. We spend almost no time on developing others, managing teams, or helping our people lead change and transitions. All of these are very important to our future. Just like I insist on the absolute best in the equipment we use, I’ve not helped communicate what is the best that is expected of those who work for the company. I’ve missed a part of the equation to build for longevity.”
The message for moving toward the desired leadership future was “in the cards.” We spent some time planning some events with the senior team for them to do their own card sort and to launch a 360 survey so they could get a handle on what people see in their behavior related to these key roles and practices.
What happens next will astonish and delight you. Stay tuned.