The following story was described by Mason Holloway, a Maryland-based performance consultant and managing partner of Platinum Performance Group.
Client: An international computer manufacturer.
Problem: The company was experiencing a high failure rate in leadership transition from director to vice president–level roles.
Cause: The organization was faced with a leadership pipeline shortage. Director roles called for a tactical and narrow execution focus, while vice presidents operated from a broader strategic market outlook. The organization's learning and development function had clearly defined three employee competency levels and aligned them with performance outcomes. While directors knew the competencies required of them and the outcomes they needed to fulfill to be considered for a promotion, once they became vice presidents, they were not prepared for their new roles.
Method/Tools: Holloway interviewed the top performing employees at each competency level in each global region, as well as those employees who successfully transitioned from director to vice president roles. He captured a model of top performance and then uncovered the performance DNA that comprised director and vice president success. He also examined the established director and vice president-level performance outcomes.
Diagnosis: Holloway realized that achieving director-level outcomes only gave employees a "price of admission" to a vice president role. However, these outcomes did not empower employees to be successful in their new position. From his performance model, Holloway created a third set of outcomes—"enablers"—that directors had to meet as they transitioned into the vice president role.
He designed performance experiences such as stretch assignments, cross-functional teamwork, self assessments, and job aids to provide the skills and behaviors for employees to meet the enabling outcomes.
Solution: The organization became a net exporter of talent. By enabling leaders to be successful in their new roles, they developed more talent than they used.