The Director of Engineering for a Financial Services Software Company had hired two managers from outside the company during the prior 18 months. One left within a year of hire and the second was having difficulty adapting to the organization's culture. The head of the organization had been pressuring the Director to develop bench strength from within the organization, which he thought he could do once he got the managers hired. Faced with a tight talent market, escalating recruitment costs, and additional pressure to hire from within, he was forced to reconsider internal options. He first looked at his lead people and others that had indicated an interest in management. For one reason or another, each presented questions in his mind about their ability to make the kind of commitment it requires to go from a technical doer to an effective leader. The challenge then became a way to test the commitment of the available talent.
- We found that one of the primary reasons why the Director hadn't been more aggressive in developing internal talent had more to do with the company's preference for sending individuals to outside training programs. He wanted a customized approach that could be measured.
- To address his requirements, we started with the basic elements of supervision and added areas of management and leadership into a ten week process meeting 2 hours every other week with coaching as a supplement to address individual needs.
- The development objectives were to identify committed participants based on performance who would be targeted to fill immediate promotional opportunities, become the bench talent for succession or produce project leaders who were better equipped to manage and lead teams.
- As the process was being finalized it was shared with managers outside the organization who became interested and selected additional candidates for inclusion in the program, which was capped at 11.
- 10 of the eleven participants completed the program successfully.
- 1 of the 5 identified by the software engineering group was promoted, 2 were placed in lead positions as targeted candidates for promotion, one washed out and the 5th re-committed as a deep technical resource.
- The other contributing organizations had similar results and the overall feedback from management about tailoring a development process for this purpose was outstanding.
- Aside from the acknowledged success of the program, management recognized that the total cost of their investment in this development effort amounted to less than the actual cost of replacing one manager.