Where is Your Firm's Next Senior Manager Coming From?

BY Kathy Crosett
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Have you taken a good look at your leadership team members lately? Are they devoted to your company and its cause? They might be. But, any one of them might also walk out the door if someone makes them an offer they can’t refuse. You should be thinking about where that would leave you. To avoid organizational chaos, check out what Marty Fukuda recommends regarding leadership development.

As COO of N2 Publishing, Fukada knows that things change. People leave. You have to be ready to move ahead when this happens. To prepare for leadership changes, you should already be grooming the next level of managers in your organization. The benefit of this approach is that you know the people you’ll be promoting. You understand their strengths and weaknesses. To help groom them for leadership, you can address any possible shortcomings with the right kind of training programs before they move ahead in their careers.

Not every company has the right kind of talent to promote from within. In some cases, you’ll be forced to bring in an outsider as a leadership team addition. You might make this a deliberate move if it’s time to shake up the status quo and signal to everyone that you want to move the business in a different direction. In other cases, you have to make an external hire because nobody in the current ranks can assume the position.

Either way, making a business change doesn’t always mean you want to make a cultural change. If you and your team members enjoy the current culture, your new leadership hire will work best if she can fit in. Not all leaders are able to do so. Fukuda suggests spending as much time as possible vetting candidates to see if they will be able to fit into the organization. After you hire the most promising candidate, pay for a training and coaching program that will help her be effective in her position and to lead in a manner that is consistent with company culture. As Fukuda says, “culture is too important to be left to chance.”

As you ponder where your next leader is coming from and whether you want to preserve or change company culture, read Fukuda’s other suggestions.