Finding the Right Path

business succession planning career advancement opportunities career development development employee development examples of career pathways leadership development professional development succession planning succession planning process Nov 10, 2022
examples of career pathways

If we really want to be sure we’re providing our team members with career advancement opportunities, in an actual pursuit of happiness, rather than making them feel like no good deed goes unpunished by promoting them into a role that they have no interest in, we’d better be intention about knowing what makes them tick! 

A while back in our Leading At The Next Level program, I shared a lesson called How to Make Sure Working for You Doesn’t Suck where I referenced something I learned from Pat Lencioni’s book The Truth About Employee Engagement regarding the importance of getting to know as much as we can about each individual on our team. Like so many things we read or hear from folks like John Maxwell or Pat Lencioni, this was something I had been doing intuitively for years but reading gave me a framework for being intentional about it! A significant piece of learning what makes someone tick is getting to know more about them than their name, rank, and serial number. (Do people even have serial numbers???) When we’re willing to invest the time to know someone’s hobbies, a bit about their family, as well as some of the things they would like to achieve in life, we have a much better idea of what makes them tick - but we’re also showing that we value them!

Let’s be clear on this point: there’s no better way of doing this than having a conversation with them… Once we’ve developed that foundation, there are a couple of really solid tools that will help us identify the types of work that will provide them with the most fulfillment over the long haul and how we can be most effective as we share any given message with them. 

I’ve recently become a Pat Lencioni nerd all over again as Cindy and I worked through the process of becoming authorized to use his Working Genius assessments and material with the clients we serve. The beauty we’ve found in this particular tool lies in how quickly it allows us to identify the tasks that fill someone’s tank from the ones they can do well but don’t really get energy from and the ones that just drain the life right out of them. Understanding this is critical as we’re developing a business succession plan but it’s just as important if we want to genuinely help our team members achieve their goals and dreams!

As powerful as that can be for developing a succession plan or identifying examples of career pathways for someone, we’ll still miss the mark if they’re not receiving the message we’re attempting to send. And that can be a show-stopper when it comes to getting them into the right seat - or even keeping them on our bus! This is where that Platinum Rule I reference so frequently comes into play. What we’ve learned through the DISC Model of Human Behavior, and have now helped dozens of organizations implement throughout their workforce, is also fairly intuitive. But having a simple, inexpensive tool that can be applied right away makes getting measurable results so much simpler! When we understand someone’s complete communication style blend and how that can change when they’re under stress, or we just learn to recognize communication styles quickly in conversation, we can make far better connections by adapting the message we need to share so that it serves our team members’ individual needs!

Hear me loud and clear here though… As powerful as both of those tools are individually, and how much more effective we can be when we combine them, we cannot skimp on the time we invest in learning to know each team member! But once we’ve done that work and we put those tools into practice, we can move our focus to helping them reach their goals and building toward our ideal succession plan - so that’s where we’ll pick up next time…