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Career Development Managers Training – A Case Study

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Working with our global consulting client since 2011 we have co-developed career development training for the Career Development Managers. The programme, in addition to the individual’s personal development has given consistency to the organisation’s internal best practices reaping wider results. _________________________________________________________

Business context & drivers for the organisation 

The Career Development programme was initially established to train Career Development Managers (CDMs) in how to adopt a development mindset with their Consultants.  The firm were already good at managing the process but they recognised there was a gap that required CDMs to be upskilled as developers; both in the way they saw themselves as developers but also in their skills as developers. Since 2011 TPC Leadership have run over 150 programmes across 15 countries, across Europe, Asia, Middle East, South America, Africa and Australia.

This organisation has a reputation of attracting the best talent available but as the war for talent becomes ever more important, they wanted to ensure they retain the talent they’ve attracted. 

By developing their CDMs, this encourages an environment where consultants are given opportunities.  Today’s consultants need to have people within the firm genuinely interested in their development and engaging with them. This is cornerstone of this organisation’s success. 

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Objectives/required outcomes for the client

With consulting firms operating as they do, with consultants working across several projects in any given year with different reporting lines, CDMs are responsible for their consultant’s performance and development. 

The programme enables the Career Development Managers (CDMs) to have really meaningful conversations with their Consultants. Focusing on the critical balance between sharing knowledge, expertise and wisdom of the CDM (who’s also had loads of experience navigating their way through the organisation) and adopting a coaching style used to empower the individual to think for themselves and take responsibility for their development.  

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Interventions

This firm has a well-established process, which is adopted at all consulting levels and within each region, where CDMs meet with their Consultants at least twice a year often up to four times per year.  

The training focuses on the different roles played by the CDM:

  • Collating information from various stakeholders: interviewing them and collecting evidence to support their comments, mitigating any biases 
  • Synthesise the information to take it to the committee meeting
  • Feedback both the collated information and the outcomes of the committee meeting
  • Work with their consultants to develop a personal development plan – what do they need to work on now in their role and what do they have to start to work on now in order to succeed at the next level.

The firm recognised that they were less skilled in the development part of the conversation – how to have really meaningful conversations and to ensure ownership of the personal development plan was with the Consultant and not the Developer.   The conversation focuses on how to give feedback and predominately on how you can move into a positive development conversation

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Outcomes  

The CDMs are able to give high quality feedback, that is structured and ensures it will be accepted by the consultant. The CDMs are able to raise awareness of what blockers are hindering their consultant’s performance and how these things could change to make a positive impact. Following a review meeting the consultant feels really listened to and has built a positive relationship where they feel understood, are able to discuss feedback shared as well as creatively brainstorm an optimal way forward. 

It is a truism that in professional services firms that if you’re a good developer of people, people will go the extra mile to get on your team and…if you have a reputation as a great developer, you have the pick of the talent. 

Should a firm adopt this way of approaching performance conversations, they will also reap further benefits:

  • Experience greater performance – as an individual, a team and an organisation 
  • Greater adaptability – the workforce is better able to adapt to changing working environments and practices 
  • Attract and retain the best talent
  • Employees feel they are being developed, positively pushed and challenged; they grow so they stay 

Employee positive branding, talking with their friends/peers about how good their development process thereby attracting talent into the firm

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