What will your next com­pany do to de­velop its lead­ers?

The Denver Post - - BUSINESS - By Kath­leen Win­sor-Games — Kath­leen Win­sor-Games is the prin­ci­pal of The Win­sor Group, a Den­ver-based firm of­fer­ing lead­er­ship de­vel­op­ment, team build­ing and ca­reer coach­ing. See her blog at TheWin­sorGroup.com.

If your ca­reer is on a lead­er­ship tra­jec­tory, your next move to a new com­pany could hi­jack your ca­reer plan or ac­cel­er­ate it to new lev­els. How do you know whether the next com­pany has the right mind­set about de­vel­op­ing and re­tain­ing a high-per­form­ing lead­er­ship team?

For in­stance, if you are in the mar­ket­ing dis­ci­pline and your goals in­clude at­tain­ing the level of chief mar­ket­ing of­fi­cer, it pays to in­ves­ti­gate the in­ter­nal and ex­ter­nal rep­u­ta­tion of the mar­ket­ing dis­ci­pline at tar­get com­pa­nies. Some com­pa­nies clearly do not value mar­ket­ing as a dis­ci­pline, and do not see the mea­sur­able and strate­gic im­pact that a gifted and ef­fec­tive CMO can bring to a busi­ness.

For a list of the com­pa­nies who do the best at de­vel­op­ing C-suite mar­keters, check out this ar­ti­cle (http://www.forbes.com/sites/ kim­ber­ly­whitler/2016/08/21/ best-com­pa­nies-for-de­vel­op­ing-c-level-mar­ket­inglead­ers/#39cd96a75d4a).

On the other hand, if you are look­ing for your first pro­mo­tion to su­per­vi­sor, it pays to know if man­age­ment ex­pects you to glide seam­lessly into your next role with­out train­ing or guid­ance, or if a train­ing pro­gram is in place.

Build a list or cri­te­ria you can use to eval­u­ate the qual­ity of a prospec­tive em­ployer’s lead­er­ship de­vel­op­ment re­sources. The best com­pa­nies will fea­ture a com­bi­na­tion of one or more from the fol­low­ing list of pos­si­bil­i­ties, de­pend­ing on the size and so­phis­ti­ca­tion of the com­pany: for­mal on­board­ing and train­ing, pro­grams for emerg­ing lead­ers, a blend of class­room and on-the­job train­ing, ca­reer men­tor­ing pro­grams, ro­ta­tional as­sign­ments, cross-func­tional train­ing, a bud­get for train­ing and de­vel­op­ment cour­ses, a for­mal learn­ing man­age­ment sys­tem and/or a suc­ces­sion plan­ning strat­egy.

Since train­ing is typ­i­cally a “cost cen­ter,” it is rare to find a com­pany that would fea­ture all of the above pos­si­bil­i­ties, but the point is to iden­tify com­pa­nies that value lead­er­ship de­vel­op­ment. Who are the best com­pa­nies for work­place cul­ture, em­ployee de­vel­op­ment and lead­er­ship de­vel­op­ment? Take a look at the 2016 Work­force 100: Rank­ing the World’s Top Com­pa­nies for HR (http://www. work­force.com/2016/05/22/2016work­force-100-rank­ing-the­worlds-top-com­pa­nies-for-hr/).

As you con­duct re­search on tar­get com­pa­nies and progress through the in­ter­view process, it pays to iden­tify com­pa­nies with a learn­ing cul­ture. Ask ques­tions about their train­ing and de­vel­op­ment re­sources. Here are some ques­tions to ask once mu­tual in­ter­est has been es­tab­lished: What pro­grams are in place cur­rently to help new em­ploy­ees learn your com­pany’s prod­ucts, cul­ture and pro­to­cols, so that pro­duc­tiv­ity is ac­cel­er­ated? What is this depart­ment’s pol­icy on cross-func­tional train­ing? How does your com­pany iden­tify and de­velop the next gen­er­a­tion of lead­ers at the su­per­vi­sory, mid­dle man­age­ment and ex­ec­u­tive man­age­ment lev­els?

Be­ing pre­pared with a few care­fully crafted ques­tions on train­ing and de­vel­op­ment (cus­tom­ized to the com­pany, role and in­ter­viewer) can go a long way to­ward un­cov­er­ing the po­ten­tial fit for your lead­er­ship path.

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