A requirement comes through: we need to train some of our first-line supervisors. Who do you turn to first? A training directory? Your in-house development department?

The best person to call first is the MD. If you can’t talk to this person, get hold of the most senior manager you can.

Why? Developing managers is like building a car. These people will propel your business towards the future you want. The MD is like the driver, guiding the organisation towards its goals.

The MD will know where the business is going, and what she or he will need from the people to get there.

The more you involve the driver in the design of a car, the more likely you are to get a car that does the job. The same is true of developing managers. The higher the quality of consultation with senior management, the closer the final results will be to what they actually need.

This is not the same as asking the MD to design and run the development project, just as you wouldn’t ask the driver to design and build a car. It is simply that the more you understand what the driver wants, the easier it will be to make a car that fits its purpose.

What happens if the conversation you have with the MD is just this, “can you sort that group out?” The development project will be like designing a car with no input from the driver. The MD is likely to turn up at the race track and find a tractor waiting for him.

This might be ok for large corporates where stability is more important than growth. They have the time and budget to make another car. They have the resources to put the tractor in a garage for the time being.

High growth businesses are more like an F1 team. They need the right people with the right management skill and culture, right now. There is no room for error, and no time for management development that doesn’t produce a result you can see immediately.

Consult the MD regularly, involve her as much as you can, and build a car that will help you all to win.

Mitchell Phoenix equip high-growth businesses with the management skill and culture they need to sustain and extend their growth. In the last 25 years we have assisted Microsoft UK, HSBC Private Bank, STA Travel and many others in creating a management culture to support their success. Click here for examples of high growth management development

For more information on how to involve senior management in staff development, get our Leadership Development Blueprint here

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