How Will You Support Each Other’s Success This Week in Business and at Work?

One of many marvelous career principles my GE manager Bill mentored me on was the enduring concept that the success of your team – your managers, peers and other team mates – was a direct reflection of your own career success. It’s a win-win scenario with roots in appreciative inquiry.  One of the many reasons why I treasured Bill as a key career mentor. Bill’s belief in this concept was deep and wide.  Every interaction, every coaching opportunity was geared towards preparing me for the next promotional level.  He was often more interested in seeing me promoted than I was:  I just wanted to keep working with Bill for a while longer, as he was also a great teacher and I soaked up every nugget he shared.  Bill took great exception to this attachment, as if I were depriving him of a career prize.  “Seeing you promoted to the corporate level would be a significant career achievement for me,” Bill would remind me, in response my occasional lack of attention to his unsolicited coaching. Since my hothouse professional development experience working for Bill, I have endeavored to follow in his footsteps.  It’s not been easy.  Some challenges have been:

  • Bonus plans for Sales and Operations functions that don’t share metrics, pitting each function against the other, focusing on making their own bonuses, rather than doing what’s right for the business overall;
  • Managers who want to keep talented employees in the same job year after year, so they don’t have to recruit and train their replacements;
  • Employees / team members who don’t understand the authentic success factors leading to career growth / promotion, e.g. following rules like showing up to work on time; working collaboratively rather than calling out colleagues to make yourself shine, etc. – you get the picture;
  • Performance feedback that’s used as a power play to control and keep order, rather than to develop key talent for retention to grow the organization and its success.

So what might supporting each other’s success look like?

  • Ensuring great job fit from the time of recruitment / hire; identifying a team member’s strengths early on, and continually finding the win-win for the team member’s and the organization’s growth / success;
  • Shared organization goals and metrics, tied to a clearly articulated strategic plan incorporating organization values, metrics, goals and the cascading tasks / actions to effectively implement that plan at every level and position in the organization, with accompanying compensation structures for shared goal achievement;
  • A succession plan that ensures organizational and professional growth, as well as financial and market sustainability;
  • At least quarterly feedback on the shared performance goals of both the manager and the team member, tied directly back to performance to the overall strategic plan.  In other words:  if a manager’s team member is not performing, the responsibility is shared, not an opportunity for finger-pointing and/or for the manager to use their team member as a performance-feedback human shield.

How will you support each other’s success this week, in business and at work?


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