Training New Managers
A well-established architectural firm experienced a rapid period of growth over five years (from 20 to 55 employees). It was impossible for the business owner to continue his hands-on personal style. There was a need to build a layer of management between him and the staff in order to allow the company to scale profitably and hold its people accountable to agreed-upon standards and procedures. The firm decided to promote from within even though there were few staff members who had even limited management experience. In order to provide the missing skills and create a more cohesive management team, the firm asked us to train the managers both as a group and individually.
Our plan was to first help the business owner assess the new team of managers and then to train (and support) their ongoing development. It was also important for the business owner, his son, and another senior executive to strengthen their leadership skills. They needed to get comfortable delegating authority and giving the new managers room to grow.
We started our work with an assessment of the current culture of the firm by meeting with the managers and a cross-section of the staff. It was clear that the firm took on the personality of the owner and that decision-making was very centralized. In addition, it became evident that two of the four individuals initially put on the new management team were not the right fit. One had no interest in being a manager of people and the other was better suited to dealing with client needs. With our assistance, two other high-potential individuals were selected to take their place. We then began one-on-one leadership coaching sessions for each of the managers, and subsequently ran a series of management training workshops for the group.
The management team now has a basic foundation of management skills that they are applying in their new roles, and they are starting to gel as a group. Their self-awareness has been heightened through one-on-one coaching, and they are also tapping into each other’s strengths. The business owner has taken an active role in the learning process and has demonstrated his commitment to their success.