A big challenge for many organizations is getting the up and coming talent ready to lead. Unfortunately, most managers and leaders do not spend enough lead-time getting people ready to be promoted or advanced. As a result, they are generally thrust into positions hastily and told, “We believe in you now, go get it done”. The employees do the best they can, but they don’t do their best. Why? Because they can’t! Employees were not properly prepared to do it.
One of my clients is a contractor with around 700 employees in the field and they have many Baby Boomers about to retire. They took a step that I believe is a Best Practice and made a significant investment in their lead men, those that serve as the right hands to foremen across the organization.
They made the time and effort to do the following:
- They selected 60 of their lead men and women to attend two programs after work for three hours.
- At session one, they went into great detail about the opportunities coming up in the company and the criteria they were looking for in foremen and superintendents. They presented a Career Path Plan for them. It was the first time anyone had talked to them that way.
- They then spent several months working with foremen on evaluating that talent and matching against the criteria.
- They then hosted a second program provided by myself that was a foreman primer based on content from the Five Minute Foreman book and training program. It reinforced the idea that the job is no longer a blue-collar position. It focused on production, profit and most of all, professionalism.
- They then selected a sub-group of those 80 to be the next generation of foremen – and pre-identified them.
They believe that through this Best Practice, they receive the following benefits:
- Two years to refine top candidates
- The ability to retain talent as they feel more valued
- The ability to attract a higher caliber of leader due to the shared Career Path Plan
- Create meaningful and powerful mentoring relationships between the Foremen Evaluators and the Lead Men candidates for advancement.
The real benefit, in my opinion, isn’t even listed. It looks to me like a well-prepared foreman taking on the job ready to lead and manage in a way that maximizes performance in profit, productivity, and safety. And that is not just a Best Practice – it’s a good and smart way forward.
And remember, it’s people before projects. That’s what makes the difference!