What will your next company do to develop its leaders?
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.