At many creative agencies, top performers are often elevated into management positions because they’re seen as the trusted experts in their area. Stepping into a managerial position, though, is like being thrust into a whole new world. Business Coach Roberto presents a 5-step process for promoting the best candidate for the job.
The Compelling Issue From Our Customer:
We are a small creative advertisement agency and I’m in the process of selecting one person from the team to promote him as a VP of Sales. I have two or three possible candidates. Can you outline a simple process I can use to make my internal assessment and selection more effective? – Lisa, San Francisco
The Powerful Answer From Our Coach Roberto
Whenever someone is promoted to a managerial position, he or she will inevitably end up doing almost a completely new job. This means that when you’re deciding who is the best fit, don’t cloud your judgement by only looking at the way they’re performing right now in your company, but also envision how you think they would perform in the new position. The best sales guy is not necessarily the best VP of Sales.
Here is a simple 5-step process that can help you make the assessment process more effective:
1. Evaluate Their Knowledge
Rate the candidates’ level of understanding of the industry and the dynamic of your business. Their depth of knowledge about what’s outside the company, and their capacity for thinking in term of a bigger picture can be a crucial part of how they will be able to generate results.
2. Get a Feel For Who They Are
Check their attitudes towards people, towards change and towards constant learning and growth. There are some tools you can use to do this, but I would recommend you start by using your intuition to decide if, based on your standards and expectations, a candidate has what it takes to deal with those three areas in an effective manner.
3. Look at Their Future Role as a Combination of 3 Components:
- Technical component: this is connected to their ability to produce any output that their role requires (strategic plans, analysis, budgets, etc.)
- Managerial component: this is related to their ability to manage people, money, tools and any other resources the company may assign to them
- Relational component: this is reflected in their ability to create productive connections among different people, both inside and outside of the organization. This includes relationships with their boss, their team, their colleagues with the media, etc.
4. The Skills Checklist
Identify, for each of the three components above, a set of 3-5 skills that you consider relevant for the specific position (ie. the relevant relational skills for a CEO may differ from the relational skills required for a CTO). In my Executive Coaching, I select these skills together with my clients from a comprehensive list of 44 skills (each of them is structured by a set of specific, observable behaviors). We select the skills by going through a deep analysis of the market, the company and the role. In your case, you can simplify this part of the hiring process by deciding what skills are critical in each of the above components, based on your knowledge and perspective. Here is a sample of skills found in each component:
- Technical skills: analysis, decision making, efficiency
- Managerial skills: planning and monitoring, project management, vision
- Relational skills: interpersonal communication, team play, conflict resolution
(If you’re reading this post and would like more ideas for the skills, just send me an email at email@example.com and I’ll be happy to share my entire list divided by each component).
5. Use the Present as an Indicator of the Future
Rate each of your internal candidates in terms of the skills you identified. To do this efficiently, just look at the way they’re behaving in their current role.
At this point, you should have a clear picture of their individual strengths, weaknesses and gaps. You should be able to decide much more easily if a candidate will be able to grow into the new role, or if that’s an unrealistic expectation. If the former is true, then sit down with the new future manager and structure a plan to help him or her grow along the way, by leveraging existing strengths and working on improving the fundamental skills needed.
Remember not to rush. Developing (or reinforcing) skills requires time, and it involves practicing new behaviors and a new way of thinking that leads to a new mindset. This is not only true for the candidates, but also for yourself, as you’ll surely grow with your team during the process.
A former executive in the banking industry, Roberto Erario holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics and a Master in Corporate and Executive Coaching. He’s a Licensed Business and Life NLP Coach, a Certified Master NLP Practitioner, and he’s been training and coaching executives and business owners in Europe and North America for the last 11 years. Major past clients include the following: Accenture, Siemens, Hilton Hotels, Dun & Bradstreet, Dorchester Group and Verind - Durr Group.