Every successful business puts its best people in its most important roles. The best managers to make this happen successfully are often well-trained HR professionals, within a well-staffed HR department. However, not every company has, or is ready for, a full-blown HR team that understands the nuances of employee motivation and leadership development. But, there is another way…
A while back, I was working with a company that was planning a big product shift, based on some recent sales data. They had two products, let’s call them X and Y, that were selling reasonably well for many years. Suddenly, X began selling a whole lot better than Y.
Linda, the CEO, brought the topic to the next board meeting. She and the board decided to shift most of the company’s focus to product X. They needed to expand R&D, grow the marketing team, and ramp up manufacturing of the higher selling product. In order to accomplish this, the Linda wanted to take his best people off the Y team, and put them on X.
Linda met with one of the managers in division Y. Rachel was a rising star who constantly impressed with her natural abilities and her drive. Linda explained that the business was shifting, and that she wanted Rachel to work on the other product team, and report directly to her.
At first, Rachel was excited at the prospect and grateful for her trust. But, she began to worry. She knew nothing about product X, she didn’t know if she could communicate well with her new team, or if they would even respect her. What if it was her own fault that product Y hadn’t done as well as product X…? Rachel felt completely overwhelmed.
The CEO was perplexed. Linda knew Rachel had done an amazing job as a manger, pushing her team to this point. The company had invested a great deal of time and money to hire and train her, and it was starting to pay off! Good people were hard to come by and she really did not want to waste this opportunity to build Rachel into a superstar.
Plus, Linda needed this transition to happen yesterday!
That’s where we enter the story…
Linda brought us in to guide her, along with the rest of the management team. It wasn’t that she was incapable of grooming them into effective leaders herself, but it’s a job that takes a lot of time and effort. Bringing in an HR consultant allowed her to keep up with the entire team, while ensuring they each get the professional leadership development they deserve.
With the proper leadership, employees have more respect for their superiors and become more productive. Sometimes, however, leaders need to be coaxed out of their shells. Our superstar was comfortable where she was, working alongside her team and happy to take direction. But Rachel’s potential was untapped.
A great boss can recognize the potential in people, but doesn’t necessarily have to be the one to unleash it. As strategic HR consultants, we help develop leaders as part of a bigger plan. We take a hands on approach to building relationships with employees, understanding their needs, seeing their value, and guiding their progression.