What’s the most effective way to train employees to thrive as managers?

Posted by Robert Norton on

Training like this is best done with an ongoing Management Development (MD) program. This is also often called Learning and Development (LD), or Management Development (MD). Management is an art, not a skill. Hence, only actual practice and experience increases someone’s abilities. Of course, a foundation of knowledge of best practices, styles and some structure is very helpful and that can be learned.  Models, rules of thumb and reading will help a lot. It will just not be enough. 

Any company over about 10 employees should have ongoing monthly or quarterly education goals for managers, or ideally all employees. This allows people to grow with the company, creates loyalty and is a big win-win. This does not have to be expensive. I generally recommend about 2% to 3% of management salaries for an MD program.  This can pay an RPI that is 10 to 100X. 

Some MD can be just reading assignments. The key is knowing the best books for a given employee at that time.  The desire to learn and grow is also the test of an employee's ability to move up in the organization.  Those unwilling to invest time in themselves are not very likely to be go getters that you can promote rapid. So, assignments should be on their own time when the company pays for the books or other material, ideally.  Of course, some can be during work hours too.  

Today, most training can be on-demand video, but there should be a variety and mix of learning modalities.  People have preferred methods, and even generational differences in how they like to learn have been well documented.  Managers should likely attend one larger industry seminar per year, read books, watch videos on the art of management and more.  This grows their industry view and knowledge. And is a break from the grind that is appreciated.  They should bring back a report on what they learn and saw, too.  

For serious companies that want to grow and dominate their space, an Organizational Development (OD) program is required. This is about installing the systems, policies, process and practices a company needs as it gets larger.  It dovetails with the individual's MD program planning the organizational chart and developing people for future roles.  OD programs also install and train company processes for hiring, firing, sales, budgeting, the monthly cadence of management meetings for communications and planning, etc. Some are generic and others are specific to the company and its processes.  The investment in these needs to be made in proportion to a company’s growth rate and size/maturity.

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Bob Norton is a long-time Serial Entrepreneur and CEO with four exits that returned over $1 billion to investors. He has trained, coached and advised over 1,000 CEOs since 2002. And is Founder of The CEO Boot Camp™ and Entrepreneurship University™. Mr. Norton works with companies to triple their chances of success in launching new companies and products. And helps established companies scale faster using the six AirTight Management™ systems. And helps companies successfully raise capital.

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