You may have found my previous blog on this theme a bit jaded; but for many of you I’m sure it came close to the mark. The fact is, many organizations simply do not execute well on this strategic imperative, even when they claim that it’s important to them. Sounds a bit like that call-waiting message on the corporate help desk.

So if you are a Director in one of these under-delivering organizations what can you do to help your organization, and help yourself?

➢ First, obviously, (but surprising how many people fail to check first) talk to your HR Director to see for sure what the existing policy with respect to management development is in your organization. Try not to embarrass him or her as you make your inquiries.

➢ Find out how much budget, corporately and divisionally, has been set aside for training and development, of all kinds. Then find out if it is actually spent each year. Again, tack and diplomacy skills are required here.

➢ If the processes, or budget, are minimal to none but you believe there is implicit commitment to the value of people development, design your own program of management development for your branch or division:

– Develop a management development policy for your own division
– Design a competency profile for your own position and for those of your direct reports, especially your managers.
– Make sure you seek input from your own team on the first two steps
– Invite your HR Partner to participate in this process but don’t wait, or ask for permission.

➢ Conduct a vulnerability analysis in your own division, assessing the risks of staff not being able to meet mid- to long-term performance indicators.

➢ Assess the potential of your key staff for growth and succession.

➢ Communicate these latter two analyses with your boss and what your plans are to address both.

➢ Provide feedback to each of your key direct reports on their performance against the agreed competency profile

➢ Invite each manager to craft a development plan that focuses on these competency profiles (their own, and yours!).

➢ Make the business case for funds/expenditures on external (or internal) development programs, but do not rely only on this strategy.

➢ Develop the skills and attitude of ‘manager as coach’ to give your key staff timely and constructive feedback on their behaviours, competencies and development plans.

➢ Be prepared to devote 10% of your time to these activities; drop or delegate less strategic items.

➢ Construct your own development plan, cost it and seek support from your boss.

➢ Demonstrate you have in place a competent successor for your own position and seek new assignments that are in line with your career development plan.

➢ If you encounter serious resistance or inertia, be prepared to resign (well maybe not immediately, no need to be too dramatic). There are better organizations for you to contribute to and which will support you in your own growth needs.

Don’t worry if the organization likes your initiatives so much they want to conscript you. This could be the career development move you always wanted.