A recent article in the Harvard Business Review suggests that it is vital for organisations to provide development programs that take into account the fundamental shift in the way managers need to think and act as they progress through an organisation.

Most organisations have management development programs in place, but they are usually differentiated by the amount of training given, and quite often fail to take into account the different behavioural demands that accompany different levels of responsibility.

Companies often promote their best performers based on their current skills and behaviours, without serious regard for what they need in the future – which might be quite different.  For example organisations often define a framework of competencies such as achieving results, team work, personal effectiveness etc on the assumption that the competencies are the right ones for everyone at all levels.

In response to this the authors have formulated a ‘road map’ for succession planning and development.  The road map describes the differences between job responsibilities for various levels of management role, the ideal leadership and thinking styles and related management development issues.

In this way even the most basic ‘road map’ makes it clear for aspiring managers and leaders what they can expect in their next role and the challenges they will face.  The authors point out that these issues can be quite different, and in some cases, the opposite of what the managers have encountered in the past). The road map can help managers see that relying on past successes and habits is no guarantee of future success.

Dave Marchant, MD of Developing People supports the author’s findings.  This research supports what we have intuitively done in the past.  We run programs that are designed to address specific issues and are tailored precisely to the needs of the organisation and the managers concerned.  We do not run generic programs for all levels of manager as we know that they do not work.