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Investing in tomorrow: Developing the future managers of your business

Most business owners would agree that people are one of their company’s greatest assets. But are you doing enough to protect and grow that asset? What are you doing to develop the people that will lead your business in the future?

Management development includes providing a structured programme of learning and development that helps individuals become better in their current role, while preparing them for future roles in the business. It’s effectively an investment in the managers of the future. And the benefits to the business are significant: from promoting fresh thinking and improving business performance, to boosting resilience and creating a succession plan.

Seeing the bigger picture

Building the right management development programme takes careful planning. It shouldn’t be a knee-jerk reaction to feeling stretched, for example suddenly realising you need someone who can lighten your load as the business owner, or in response to pressure from an ambitious team member. Enthusiasm and ambition in your team are great, but that energy must be channelled in a direction that meets the company’s needs and helps improve business performance.

You therefore need an end-to-end view of management development that considers the following:

• What does the business need now and in the future?
• What role (or roles) does this mean we need?
• How will the organisation and management evolve over time?
• What are the skills and attributes we need to meet our goals?
• How do we go about finding candidates and selecting the right person, either internally or externally?
• What is the ideal induction and development programme for this person?

As with any new appointment or role change, there are also specific questions to address around remuneration, objectives and performance management. The point is that a ‘management development programme’ can’t exist in isolation from your ‘people strategy’.

Putting it into practice

Creating the right management development programme isn’t just about training, though. To build the management team that will help to grow your business, you also need to encourage knowledge transfer, make time for coaching, rotate future leaders around different departments so they develop a deep knowledge of the business, and select suitable projects that will help them develop the skills they need.

Tackling all these elements and more, Henchards helped case making, packing and logistics company Tuplin plan and implement a management development programme that would steer the company in the right direction. Commenting on the programme, Lisa Henderson, co-owner of the company, said:

‘Around three years ago we recognised we needed to move the company to the next level both in terms of its scale and growth … and in terms of its future management capability and structure.

At this time we engaged with Ian Parker at Henchards and developed our plan. This plan has helped steer the decisions and growth of the business, including the implementation of our management development programme. I am now very confident that we have the team and the capabilities to drive the business forward over the next few years.’

As a business owner, it’s vital you invest in the talent that will drive the future growth of your company. So if you want to improve business performance while securing your company’s future, talk to Henchards about creating your own management development programme.

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