How do I operate a successful development plan?

A. Max Kantelia of The McLaren Partnership writes:

The key is to understand your managers’ strengths, ambitions, developmental goals and key personal drivers in the context of your business strategy and culture. Each manager will bring a different set of competences to bear and will, in turn, have certain expectations as to how they foresee their career developing, how they measure their own reward and how their ambitions can be achieved internally or, perhaps, externally.

The only way to understand these subtleties is to offer a forum in which they can honestly communicate their objectives. This could mean informal but regular discussion opportunities or formal appraisals but the flow of individual communication must remain a priority.

Also, your managers should be encouraged to understand their position not just in terms of your organisation but also in the framework of your sector, industry and the commercial market in general. Of course, you need to be able to offer a fair appreciation of market trends, salary surveys etc, to be able to offer a sensible answer to enquiries. In this way, you can defend yourself from invitations from larger firms who might, otherwise, be able to offer a clearer vision of how an individual’s career can develop.

Equally, you need to be able to offer your high-fliers a fast track development stream; recognising talent is one thing but in itself, not an effective motivator. Rewarding talented staff with opportunity, support, development and incentive will help you to retain top staff. Recognition, development and reward are the key aspects to this.

However, communication will be key. You may not be able to satisfy all of your managers’ personal ambitions but you will have a far greater insight if you allow open, honest and constructive communication.


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