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A Deep Bench

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A Deep Bench - September 19, 2005 11:01:00 PM   


Posts: 54
Joined: February 15, 2005
From: Indianapolis, IN
Status: offline
Hello again and thank you for reading and posting.

In many Fortune 500 companies it is understood as part of one's professional growth that an employee will "track up" to a higher position or a new division that better utilizes their knowledge, skills and abilities. What is more intriguing is that this same employee is responsible for the person tracking "behind them"... to assume their shoes once they have moved on. It is a two part responsibility .

I whole heartedly agree that it is the responsibility of a leader to develop the people around them. It is also an absolute necessity...

Take ABC Therapy Organization. This group was definitely doing some things right. Operationally things were running pretty smoothly, the budget was being met, the turnover of their therapists was about average. The big blow came when they had an opportunity to grow through the acquisition of multiple therapy clinics in a short time frame; they realized that they WERE managing just fine. Just not developing the potential leaders sitting on their bench. This new growth would be extremely challenging.

What if each of them had assumed the personal duty of developing those under them, the grassroots of their company, their relievers? What if they could hand pick from their bench from multiple enthusiastic leaders waiting in the wings for that management opportunity?

Developing people doesn't happen by accident. It takes careful, planned, motivational delegation of responsibility. It doesn't happen at an annual performance review in sixty minutes.

Barrett referenced his read of Susan Scott's, Fierce Conversations in one of his postings. Great sharing. (I have given out more copies of that book this year than I can count!) Scott describes a practice which I believe is critical to any leader's conscious decision to develop those around them and certainly those they supervise directly. I have found it most useful because it takes delegation to a visual that anyone can relate to and put into practice.

The Decision Tree is just that. A tree made up of leaves, branches, trunk and roots. Leaf decisions are those where a therapist can make a decision, act on it and have no need to report back to you. Branches allow independent action but a report back to the supervisor. At the tree's trunk, the therapist independently thinks through a decision action but reports back before putting it into play. Finally at the root, (where the life of the tree would end with a poor decision about its care!) the organization requires input from other leaders, even those who lead the organization might seek input from others.

It is the leader's responsbility to move their employee through this learning curve. Thus allowing their team member to take responsiblity in an environment with support, feedback and measured risk taking.

When you look over to your bench what do you see?

What opportunities may you be missing in developing the pool of talent around you?

What opportunities are you taking?

Let's talk.


Carroll Nelligan, MHA, OTR
Professional Coach
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