Developing future Managers

Developing tomorrow’s managers is too important to be treated as a by product. Special manager development activities can only supplement, but they are a necessary supplement certainly in the larger organization. At the least they emphasize the importance which the company gives to the problem, and this encourages managers to help their own men develop themselves.

For development is always self development. Nothing could be more absurd than for the enterprises to assume responsibility for the development of a man. The responsibility rests with the individual, his abilities and his effort. No business enterprise is competent, let alone obligated, to substitute its efforts for the self development efforts of the individual. To do this would not only be unwarranted paternalism, it would be foolish pretension.

But every manager in a business has the opportunity to encourage individual self development or to stifle it, direct it or to misdirect it. He should be specifically assigned the responsibility for helping all men working with him to focus, direct and apply their self development efforts productively. And every company provides systematic development programs to its managers.

The first job is an individual one. Each manager should think through what each man under him is capable of doing. The basis for this is, of course, the systematic appraisal of performance already mentioned. The analysis leads to two questions: Is the man placed in the job where he can make the greatest contribution to the company? And: What does he have to overcome to be able to realize fully his strengths and capacities?

The answers to these questions decide what specific action may be taken to promote development. It may be a move to another job. It may be formal schooling in a specific subject or in management principles to study a proposed new policy or a capital investments program. Opportunities for such assignments almost always exist, especially in the large business provided only that the staff members have been allowed to take over some of the functions of management.

No man should ever be given made work. In the small company individual development needs can however usually be taken care of by changes in the scope of a man’s job. In the large companies job openings are common. When the right job becomes available, it should be staffed on the basis of the analyses of the development needs of the individual managers. These are, of course, life and death decisions. They should therefore always be reviewed carefully at least one level up before being put into effect. The manager must fully participate in the decisions taken.

Manager manpower planning then checks on the adequacy of the company’s individual managers development efforts in the light of tomorrow’s management jobs ad their demands.

Manager manpower planning starts with the analysis of the future needs of the company and its objectives with regards to the future of company’s business. In other words, for that determines organization structure, decides what jobs will have to be filled and what their requirements are. Short term managers manpower planning – two years ahead or so is indeed promotion planning in that the actual promotional decisions have to be made. But the really important plan is the long term one – five or ten years ahead. For in this all the basic questions of objectives, organization structure and age structure of management have to be considered. Hence, the direction of the company’s development efforts will derive from this long range management manpower planning.

In its long range plan, management should never forget that it is not its intention to liquidate the business at the end of the terms. In other words, it is not sufficient to find the men for the demands of the next five years. The main results of what will be done during these next five years will not show until ten or fifteen years later. But what is being done now and during the years immediately ahead may well determine whether the company survives or not.