It’s always great to know you have good people within your company and a strong pool of qualified individuals coming up through the ranks. Given the opportunity these people can, and will, comfortably move into leadership positions as the years pass and their experience grows.
There is also a shadow side to this strong internal workforce thing and that is the issue of who to promote when there is more than one well-suited individual competing for the same position. Especially when these individuals are internal, it can get tricky.
I don’t see this shadow side often as typically there are obvious behavioral or technical strength and weakness diffferences, but this morning I had a Winslow debrief with a manager who was looking at the Group Profile of five excellent candidates (three were internal and and two were external).
The external candidates were ever so slightly weaker technically and/or behaviorally, so they were ruled out. What was left in front of us were three, almost equally, talented individuals. Honestly, the manager could have picked any one of these gentlemen and they would be a great fit. An enviable position I know, but also difficult because all of these men are well liked, good leaders, and almost equal in their skill sets; any differences where slight.
So what to do?
I know my client wanted me to simply tell him who to pick, and that would have been easy because I couldn’t really miss. As in all coaching situations though, I knew he needed to come to this decision on his own.
As we talked I asked:
- Who do you think will be the strongest leader in the years to come?
- Who do you think can hold the team together and help the two who have been passed over to remain focused and moving forward?
- If one of these gentleman leaves the company because of not being promoted, can you handle that? (I asked this about each candidate.)
- When you look at all the data, who in your heart do you know is right for this position? Most of the time I find people know, they are simply unsure if they should move on that knowledge. (I knew who he is leaning toward, but he needed time to assess in order to make the decision he will feel confident with.)
I will learn in a couple weeks who he decides to promote… and it’s nice in this instance, I won’t have to wonder: “Really? You’re moving forward with him?” because, any one of these candidates will be an asset moving forward!