Your role in developing young managers

When you joined your company, the HR department probably suggested how you could develop, and maybe suggested a course or two. And that’s it, your development was left to you and maybe your manager once a year when you had to fill in some forms during your performance appraisal.

I have always felt this hands off approach to the development of talent to be sadly lacking.

As a General Manager, I always set up an informal Young Managers program, partly because its what I liked to do, and also because as General Manager I was responsible for talent development for the future.  I set aside some time, an hour early on a friday, usually over 6 month, once per fortnight, to spend time with these Young Managers to talk about their development. It enabled me as GM to see them in action, how they thought how they acted, how they interacted. It also built a sense of community across a range of new recruits.

The topics I talked about were less important than the discussions on how these topics impacted their work and futures. But in case you would like to build your own Young managers Program, here are the topics I chose


Young managers curriculum

1. Legacy, think with the end in mind, what will others think of you when you leave. Suggest their reading of 7 Habits (Covey). Get the team to start thinking longer term.

2. Self awareness, what motivates you, personality, style, interactions. Usually supported by a DISC profile (or any other form of assessment) and how to think about the behaviour decisions they make, and to think about reacting to the world.

3. Being part of a team;  Taking the personality behaviour topic further to review how you can assess the behaviour preferences of others, to enhance communication and build longer lasting work relationships.

4. Everyone’s a salesman, role of selling in business, features, advantages, benefits, objections. Typically young managers have to sell themselves, their ideas, their projects. A basic understanding of skills in this are I found very useful especially for non-commercial managers.

5. Finance the language of business. Basic understanding of a P&L, what to look for, how to build a profitable business, how to look beyond your own department. But importantly what the words meant in simple terms.

6. Fundamentals of manufacturing and supply chain, efficiency, effectiveness, measurement , KPIs. Ideally play the Beer game, to show the impacts of bad forecasting on your business.

7. Branding. Discuss brand value as a function of awareness, expectation, and experience. And how building brand value is a simple function of EVERY interaction your brand has with people, and how you must scrupulously manage every interaction.
8. Commercial skills, consumer insight, branding, communication. basic marketing course- Have a simple idea that’s different. Develop a customer insight that is relevant, and motivating. Make a product that makes the idea real and credible. Create a program to make customers aware of the product and its benefits. Have a consistent and sustainable process the make the product available where and when customers want it, at a price they are delighted to pay and that makes you money.

9. Securing resources, making presentations. Focus on 4Cs of communication – credible, creative, commercial, concise

9. Managing your time, emails, phone interruptions; important and urgent, from Covey. Managing your boss, and his boss (using personality/behaviour principles) building trust – credibility, reliability/predictability, benevolence

11. Managing your team and colleagues

12. Getting a promotion