Grateful for Adversity; Love vs Lust; Allocate vs Accumulate; Happiness
November 22, 2011
Latest Fortune Column: 5 Clever Marketing Ideas
December 6, 2011

Senior Team Buried; Key to Leading; Latest Growth Guy Column

"…keeping you great"


Senior Team Buried
— the senior team will get crushed if their frontline supervisors and middle managers are not effectively developed. According to a recent McKinsey study, "while frontline employees receive extensive training and development, their managers – who may have had no previous experience leading others – do not. At all levels, executives believe that the little training they do receive fails to prepare them to take on leadership roles successfully." I couldn't agree more.

Management Development: 3 Simple Strategiesmy latest "Growth Guy syndicated column outlines three simple approaches for developing your supervisors and managers: pay to read; virtual learning; and peer groups. Please take three minutes to read how several growth firms are applying these simple approaches to developing their management ranks.

Peer Group Interactions — Bill George, former CEO of Medtronic and now professor of management at Harvard, notes that the key to effective leadership development comes down to self-awareness. And gaining such self-awareness requires three things:

  • Experience in real world situations, including leadership opportunities

  • Reflection about your experiences

  • Group interactions where you can share your experiences

The missing link in leadership development is having a safe place where people can share their experiences, challenges, and frustrations and get honest feedback. That's why small, intimate groups of peers where people can talk openly in confidential settings are critical to management development and why Gazelles is pioneering an approach over the phone to fit this need.

GE's Process for Management Development — GE's Crotonville has been the standard for management development – so I visited them several years ago to get an inside look into their approach. Combing their best practices with other research, here's the recommended process:

  1. The senior team immerses themselves in outside learning — the role of the Growth Summits and Leadership Summits – plus virtual monthly education.

  2. The senior team teaches and passes down their knowledge and DNA to the middle managers (GE is adamant that senior leaders should do this vs. outside instructors). This is the importance of a well structured Monthly Management meeting.

  3. The middle managers also receive formal training during the Monthly Management meeting – the role of virtual education, books, videos, etc.

  4. Senior leaders and managers are part of peer groups – the role of our new phone forums.

4 Step Process – it works! It's inexpensive. And it's not as time-consuming as most management development initiatives.

Verne Harnish
Verne Harnish
Verne Harnish is founder of the world-renowned Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) and chaired for fifteen years EO’s premiere CEO program, the “Birthing of Giants” and WEO’s “Advanced Business” executive program both held at MIT. Founder and CEO of Gazelles, a global executive education and coaching company with over 150 coaching partners on six continents, Verne has spent the past three decades helping companies scale-up. The “Growth Guy” syndicated columnist, he’s also the Venture columnist for FORTUNE magazine. He’s the author of Scaling Up (Rockefeller Habits 2.0); Mastering the Rockefeller Habits; and along with the editors of Fortune, authored The Greatest Business Decisions of All Times," for which Jim Collins wrote the foreword. Verne also chairs FORTUNE Magazine’s annual Leadership and Growth Summits and serves on several boards including chairman of The Riordan Clinic and the newly launched Geoversity. He is an investor in many scale-ups. A father of four, he enjoys piano, tennis, and magic as a card-carrying member of the International Brotherhood of Magicians.