Treat the Cause, not the Symptom.

One of the most common problems we encounter in high growth businesses is over-promotion, or just as likely, the under-developed skill sets of core personnel. 

By the very nature, growth and success quite rightly provides a business with an abundance of positivity.   All too often this broad positivity can lead to an individual, team or entire department being given remits and responsibilities beyond their current skill sets.  Fast learning curves are one thing, but consistently throwing people in the deep end without the relevant support and assistance will inevitably lead to disaster. 

It’s certainly a balancing act as keeping and retaining talent is an objective every organisation should take incredibly seriously.  

At Corporate Candy, we believe that developing in-house and existing human assets is more often than not preferential to hiring in from the world at large.  This said, there is a time and a place for both. 

Human Capital Investments

If the decision is made to promote existing staff, be aware that someone will need to take responsibility for their learning and development programme. This is necessary for a couple of key reasons:

Firstly, results and performance need to be monitored to ensure relevant guidance is given, but also to really make a judgment on the levels of success by defining timeframes and remits.  

Secondly, should there be under-performance, there needs to be a quick and efficient way of dealing with it, whether that’s through extra support or up-skilling. 

Supporting promoted staff

If you wish to maximise the chances for success, every member of staff that takes on new responsibilities should have a support, development and assessment programme in place from the very start.  Obviously these programmes can be put in place retrospectively, but the ideal is definitely to lay out a time based programme as part of any job offer, in order for the member of staff to clearly know what is expected of them. 

Elementary, My Dear Watson

This may seem like obvious stuff, but in our experience it really is only the top 5-10% of high-growth companies that have these programmes in place, and perhaps the top 1-2% that are executing on them well.  Job specs are certainly not enough. Support, resource, performance and results should all be defined and given time orientated goals. 

Especially in founder and owner-led businesses, there is a tendency to assume that other players should have the same abilities (and enthusiasm?) as themselves, where as in reality, they very rarely do.  Many business leaders fail to get the right support in place for their staff, whether that’s regular in-house development and counsel or external support such as Executive Coaching or Advisory services.  

Replacing over-promoted staff

In some cases individuals may have just reached the ceiling of their abilities and in spite of any support network sometimes a fabulous solider is just not suited to becoming a great officer.  Even in these cases, it’s better to identify these potential shortfalls as soon as possible to limit any damage or under-performance. 

If this situation occurs, using external suppliers to assess and report, hence de-personalising the situation as well as having an independent opinion, can be even more beneficial than ever as both bad feelings and potential costly legal challenges may be easier to avoid. 

Obviously any change should be seen as an opportunity to implement outstanding support, development and assessment programmes to ensure the chance of success for any incoming human skill sets. 

Should you feel that you or your company may benefit from establishing, enhancing or developing your current practices, or feel an individual may benefit from receiving development from a highly commercial executive coach, please feel free to call or email us:  

0203 8000 885 |