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Are You Promoting the Right People?

By Mark Wardell @MarkWardell |

When it comes to recruiting, many of us business owners fall prey to the "grass is always greener" syndrome. We can't help looking over our shoulder at the people working for the competition, wondering are they more competent, more accomplished?

However, recruiting from outside your organization is not the most strategic way to build an excellent team. On the contrary, it is the organization that learns how to foster and promote talent from within that ends up with a thriving culture and a more successful business.

Unfortunately, all too often, companies overlook the talent right in front of them, which begs the question: Are you promoting the right people? Consider the following:

Is your Organizational Chart structured for future growth?

What you need is an Org Chart with foresight.

Yes, you need to have the right people in the right positions. Yes, this can be accomplished with proper job descriptions, relationship diagrams, and organizational charts.

But you also need a long-term outlook for the future. To ensure your business is properly structured to recognize and promote talent from within, develop an Org Chat that looks well into your future.

Promote at the top, hire at the bottom

All companies change and grow. One of the common mistakes I see business owners make is to hire a seasoned C-Level executive for a management position at the top of the organizational chart without first looking inward. In many cases, it is more effective to promote from within and hire at the bottom of your organizational chart to meet the needs of your growing company. Again, the key here is foresight. To capitalize on the talent in your company, you need to plan for your future management needs well in advance.

One of our newer clients recently learned this lesson the hard way. They hired an experienced COO to grow their family business. The problem was, he didn't understand the subtleties of the organization and wasn't able to get the proper buy-in from the staff. They had to let him go after he led their company to its first unprofitable season in over 20 years.

Don't fire your best employees

Sounds obvious, doesn't it? Unfortunately, far too often, businesses unknowingly promote their best employees out of a job they excelled at, into a position that isn't as good a fit.

Consider this scenario: A business owner rewards her best salesperson by promoting him to Sales Manager. The reality is that while this owner just got herself a new Sales Manager, she also just fired her best salesperson. The skills, qualities and attributes that made the salesperson good at selling, do not necessarily apply to his new role (although in some cases they might). The point here is that it makes more sense to reward great performance while keeping people in positions they excel at.

Conduct a skills audit to identify strengths

To help you get a better sense of the skills your people have, I recommend conducting a skills audit. For example, you know that your Management team needs to have the necessary skills and strengths to manage their team, utilize the talents and skills of each team member, and inspire people to work together as a cohesive unit to implement your vision. A skills audit will help you identify the individuals with these strengths.

Identify and groom the natural leaders

A natural leader is someone who has the social ability, self-confidence and general leadership "je ne sais quoi" to take on responsibilities and inspire others to follow suit. Your job is to provide plenty of opportunities for this kind of top talent to reveal itself within your organization. One way to do this is to foster a culture of teamwork. Allow multi-department teams to work together on tasks, and pay attention. The natural leaders in your organization will take the lead in their team. Their leadership excellence will manifest in their teams' ability to work well together. Once you have identified who these superstars are, begin grooming them now by creating meaningful career paths for their future in your company.

Learning how to foster talent and recruit from within your own organization doesn't happen overnight. However, once you begin to nurture this type of culture, you'll find your business becomes not only more successful, but also more attractive to top talent at large. After all, this is the type of organization that people want to be a part of. And when it comes to amazing places to work, well, word travels fast.

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