The most appealing companies to work for across all business sectors are those that have a strong "promote-from-within" culture. The ability to rise within the ranks of a business is tremendously motivating to your existing team and can make your business even more attractive to potential future hires.
If you want the benefits of this type of culture in your company, you will need to make sure your current team is prepared to handle leadership roles down the road. By implementing a carefully put together leadership development program, you can not only insure that the next generation of leaders will be prepared to lead, you also have the benefit of training exactly the types of leaders you want.
Here are four reasons to invest in a leadership development program now:
1. Culture is too important to be left to chance.
Anytime you bring someone new on board, you run the risk that they may not be a good cultural fit for your team. Ask all the questions you want, give them all the tests you can think of, call their parents and kindergarten teachers as references, you still won't know exactly what you're getting until they have been with you for several weeks or months. With your existing team and future leaders, they've already been well vetted for cultural fit as part of your organization. While that's a large part of setting them up to be a leader, it's not all of it.
Your leadership team will always be held to higher standards than the rest of your employees and that certainly includes culture. By investing the time to work and coach your future leadership team, you can thoroughly discuss and teach the principles of your culture at the deepest levels, helping to ensure a strong culture for generations to come.
2. Prepare leaders strong enough mentally to meet a variety of tests.
A leader's mental makeup will ultimately tell the story of how successful they will be -- and how far they can climb. A good leadership development program not only teaches the X's and O's of your business, but also prepares them for the moment. Mental makeup, like the strategy or business rules of your company, can be learned if taught. A good coaching program will help prepare your up-and-coming leadership team on how to handle adversity, unexpected obstacles, and even losses.
3. Develop camaraderie early amongst your future leadership team.
For companies that typically make a habit of not promoting from within, establishing a strong sense of teamwork and common ground with the leadership team can be a challenge. The advantage of training and coaching your future leaders early on is that they start to work together and build a level of comfort and trust with each other long before they're officially in leadership roles. The power of having a team that understands and pulls for one another because they've risen together through the ranks can lead to a significant competitive advantage.
4. A deliberate and methodical approach to coaching can emerge.
When a new leader comes on board from another company, or you've unexpectedly needed to promote someone in-house earlier than planned, the urgency to coach the new coach can be tremendous. Even so, with things moving at lightning speed, it's unlikely you will ever have the time you'd like to teach leadership principles.
Since you're reaching the next generation earlier though, you can patiently teach in a classroom environment at a pace conducive to thorough comprehension. A simulated-world training program also provides a comfortable environment in which to make mistakes and learn from them, free from the costly side effects of real-world mistakes.
A common misconception is that simply because someone excels in the current role, that success will automatically translate to the next level. To help ensure this does happen, invest in training the next generation today.