Executive Development Strategies

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Even if you hire well, it’s a good idea to continue to improve your management team each year. This includes taking steps to develop the top people at your business. To maximize your effectiveness, create an executive development plan that covers job-specific skill improvement and general management techniques.

Needs Assessment

The first part of an executive development strategy is to assess your needs to determine which executives need help in what areas. Review your organization chart to make sure it’s current and suits your needs for the coming year or longer. Review the written job descriptions for each executive position you have, or write them if you don’t currently have these. Using the job descriptions, determine the strengths and weaknesses of your executives based on their job descriptions to help you determine what skills and competencies they need to improve.

List Objective vs. Subjective Skills

List the objective job skills each executive needs and then list the subjective general management skills executives require to be successful. For example, a marketing director might need to improve her knowledge of social media, while the bookkeeper at a small business might need to learn how to prepare cash flow and profit-and-loss statements. Subjective competencies that any executive needs include communications, time-management, project-management and interpersonal skills. Include legal compliance training so your executives understand how their actions can expose your company to lawsuits for harassment, wrongful termination and discrimination.

Meet With Executives

Meet with each executive and review your assessment of his position and the hard and soft skills the position needs. Discuss where you and the executive feel he can improve and discuss how you can accomplish this. Actions might include sending executives to workshops and seminars to help them improve their job-related skills, paying for association memberships or offering to reimburse for additional college course work. You might bring in an expert on business writing or time management for all your executives or send them individually to seminars covering these topics.

Create Your Plan

After you assess your needs for executive development and determine how you will pursue your strategies, create a plan for doing so. Include specific actions for you and your executives, the deadlines for each step, a budget for your program and a way to measure the results. Require your executives to submit short reports on each professional development step they take and also on recommendations for future self-improvement actions.