Our coaching offering is built around the concept of community learning.While we will upon request offer one to one coaching assistance we believe and have committed ourselves to the notion that people learn best from each other is carefully designed environments of mutual respect. What follow is a description of our premier offering.
For at least the past two decades there has been a great deal of attention and allocation of resources aimed at reducing the number of mid-level managers in businesses in this country. This attention and the associated resources are well intended yet often misguided. The mid-level manager remains the source of performance in virtually all organizations and their development is critical to the overall needs of the larger organization.
The experience in virtually all organizations is that the greatest number of managers will remain mid-level managers over the period of their careers. To some extent this is a function of the pyramidal structure of most management hierarchies. However, hidden by this structural feature is a misunderstood truth, for most managers this is their point of optimum organizational contribution. This fact is something to be appreciated as it points to the unique developmental needs of managers in the middle of an organization and is reflective of another known yet underleveraged truth; people in organizations will gravitate towards the tasks and responsibilities where they can be most successful and satisfied.
Distinct from senior levels of management, the middle manager operates much of the time “in the moment” with responsibilities that have immediate and often conflicting deliverables. In many instances the issues they face cannot be put off without incurring undesirable consequences. The ability of people in these positions to work successfully in the face of often continuous ambiguity makes them uniquely suited to their roles.
The Ideal of This Design
Distinguishing the Issue
A CMS™ will be designed, to the extent possible, to accommodate the issues of mid-level managers who are related within and across functional lines by interdependencies that are not accommodated for within a traditional hierarchical structure. Organizational hierarchies are generally intended to serve a vertical line of accountability that rarely if ever includes the end user customer. In effect, the customer of the hierarchy is the organization itself. Consequently, where external customer deliverables involve peer to peer interdependencies, challenges and barriers often have no immediate channel for resolution save for an appeal to the next senior level in the hierarchy
Think for a moment about the type of leadership your organization needs from your operational-level managers these days. Now ask yourself this: “What do I really think the odds are of us consistently getting the performance we are counting on from our operational-level managers without doing things differently?” If you answered something that approximates “pretty low,” then what if…
- You could link managers’ problem-solving ability together like computers can be linked for greater processing power?
- Management development could become process-driven rather than event-defined?
- Development took place in small doses over time, rather than large doses in concentrated time?
- Operational-level managers were developed to become the best operational-level managers they could be without concern for upward advancement?
- Development and the application of learning took place in a near-real-time experiential environment using actual situations faced?
- Managers derived most of their developmental benefit from conversations with other managers facing similar issues?
If these outcomes sound like good value for your organization, you are probably working in an environment like most places, meaning that most places would recognize the opportunity being described.
The purpose of a CMS™ will be to provide mid-level managers a peer community to engage with on a regular basis, designed to be committed to the sustained success of each and every member.
The description that follows represents a breakthrough in thinking and execution of the professional development of operational-level managers.
Through thousands of hours of action research embedded in real-life management environments, a set of observations has emerged that connect seemingly trivial or unrelated conditions:
- Most managers hold operational-level positions.
- Most of these individuals will remain operational-level throughout their careers for legitimate reasons, not for lack of opportunity or talent. Their talents are uniquely suited to this level of management.
- There are distinctly unique skills involved in being a strong performer at the operational-level of management over time.
- Managers who are driven to attain a senior-level position will leave an organization rather than accept long-term employment in the middle or front line.
- The primary value of operational-level managers is the development and retention of talent within an organization and the delivery of value to end user customers.
- People with similar challenges benefit from a community learning experience where they can share experiences and practices on a regular basis.
- The mystery of how to work smarter, not just harder, has not been adequately addressed in most organizations.
Participation in this community does not guarantee success. It does guarantee that any manager who chooses this association will defeat the sense of isolation and limited vision that often reduce the likelihood of successful outcomes. .
The essential message at the heart of this community will be that;
“We are all in this together and to the extent that we support and allow ourselves to be supported we will benefit and be of benefit.”
Structure and Curriculum
The basic community structure will be founded on a cross functional group of ideally and no more than nine to twelve managers. (The number nine allows for small groups of three to work together independent of the larger community.)
Each ‘Community’ will meet once a month on a regularly schedule date and time for roughly 3-4 hours. One half of each meeting will be devoted to curriculum study. The other half will be devoted to group attention devoted to individual members’ business issues.
Each CMS™ curriculum is designed to address the unique challenges faced by the immediate group. As such the curriculum will remain organic throughout the lifetime of the community.