Issue No. 73 of Your Weekly Staff Meeting features Bucket #2 (The Customer Bucket) in my forthcoming book. This week’s author says, “You can often identify a true leader because the people working under that person are of high caliber, are energized, and have a natural affinity for the leader and want to see him or her succeed.” And this reminder: to see the list of the 75 books I’ve recommended in back issues, visit the archives here.
Faulty Conventional Wisdom About Leadership
“The first law of holes—when you’re in one, stop digging—tells us what to do: abandon our traditional leadership development practices. They’re not working.” And with that blast across the corporate training bow, best-selling author Ram Charan delivers a revolutionary, but thoroughly practical new look at how to rebuild succession and leadership development from the ground up. To order from Amazon, click on the title: Leaders at All Levels: Deepening Your Talent Pool to Solve the Succession Crisis.
His remedy: the Apprenticeship Model with real-life practice, feedback, corrections and more practice. Calling his model “radical and not for the fainthearted,” it gives mega-roles to line leaders who supervise other leaders. “Preparing future leaders becomes part of their job description,” he adds. Creating the talent for your organization is not HR’s job. Every leader must be constantly focused on the talent pool. Healthy organizations, he pleads, find their future CEOs in their own pools.
Charan wants you to scratch your traditional performance assessments and, instead, mentor emerging leaders with the “gap question.” For example, Novartis Pharmaceuticals U.S. asks its people to identify any big gaps between the target job and the leader’s current capabilities. They ask, “What would happen if we put the person in the job right now?” and then they look for ways to close the gap “and thus minimize the risk, with assignments tailored to prepare the person.”
The author warns, “The CEO job requires giant leaps in learning. Leaders will not be prepared to lead large companies unless each job is much more complex than the one before.” Mentoring apprentices will get you there, he promises. So, would you spend $18 to ensure your organization’s future? Business and nonprofit leaders (especially board members) will find Ram Charan’s “Succession Solution” difficult to ignore. If you’re comfortable with your current faulty conventional wisdom, don’t buy this book.
Your Weekly Staff Meeting Questions:
#1. How effective are we at “deepening the talent pool?” Have our last three CEOs come from inside or outside the organization? What’s the downside of bringing in outside talent?
#2. Why might the “Apprentice Model” work?
Bucket #2 of 20: The Customer Bucket - Insights from Mastering the Management Buckets: 20 Critical Competencies for Leading Your Business or Nonprofit
For the next 20 weeks, I’m featuring one of the 20 buckets (core competencies) from my forthcoming book, Mastering the Management Buckets (pre-order now for April delivery). Here’s an insight from Bucket #2: The Customer Bucket.
Saddleback Church segments their “customers” into five concentric circles—and urges them to move spiritually from the outside circle into the core. The five circles: the Community, the Crowd, the Congregation, the Committed, and the Core.
I still receive donor letters from organizations that don’t segment their donor list—treating donors and non-donors alike. That’s expensive and stupid. Are you segmenting your customers?
Take a customer bucket cue from Scripture Union and their innovative E100 Challenge, based on the book, The Essential Bible Guide: 100 Readings Through the World's Most Important Book. While 3.5 million people worldwide use Scripture Union materials in their Bible reading every day—they’re focusing on prospective customers with a different approach. They’re challenging churches to target the 8 out of 10 people who have never read through the Bible (and likely never will). So SU/USA President Whitney Kuniholm created the E100, a carefully selected list of short Bible passages—50 from the Old Testament and 50 from the New Testament. The passages are usually one to two chapters in length and can easily be read in 10 minutes or less. This simple “taste of the Bible” campaign is not for the theologians, it’s for the customers in the outer circles. It’s a thoughtful strategy for bringing them inside the circle. It’s brilliant!
What are your customer segments? What research do you have on each segment—and how are you moving them into your most committed core?
Introduce your team members to the 20 critical core competencies every business and nonprofit must master. Attend our Management Buckets Workshop Experience. (See last week’s blog for dates and contact information.)