“I’m so good that I’m replaceable……” – I must admit, this headline from a recently published blog on LinkedIn by a C-level executive named Rudolph Rosenberg, really caught my attention.
Mr. Rosenberg’s central question is whether you should “make yourself irreplaceable, center to key processes and sole holder of high value knowledge or should you do the exact opposite and make yourself as replaceable as possible by organizing processes, knowledge and power so that people could wonder if you’re actually needed for things to run smoothly?”
Is This Seat Taken?: It's Never Too Late To Find The Right Seat by Kristin S. Kaufman (Greenleaf, 2015)
What are the big take-aways?
My friend and classmate from Georgetown University’s Leadership Coaching Program, Kristin Kaufman, offers in her second book a collection of fifteen profiles of Americans whose greatest achievements came later in life. They include the painter Grandma Moses, McDonalds Restaurant co-founder Ray Kroc, Alcoholics Anonymous co-founder Bill Wilson, and long-distance swimmer Diana Nyad. The overarching message is “it is never too late” to find your purpose and follow a dream. Most of the men and women, alive and dead, who Kristin profiles in this book made their major “legacy” contributions after age 50, and some in their 70s and 80s.
If you do a search for “ongoing performance management trend,” you’ll get roughly 1.5 million results going back quite a few years. It’s a theme that continues to catch on from small businesses to global powerhouse companies looking to revamp their approach to talent management, moving away from annual appraisals to something more in tune with the pace of the business.
And this trend towards ongoing performance management is catching on because it works. Consider this excerpt from Willis Towers Watson’s paper, The Power of Three:
In a variety of companies and industries, and in a range of roles involving direct reports, I have been responsible for decisions related to training and career pathing, Over the years, I have also learned the value of maintaining focus on my own professional development.
As you may have experienced, there is a palpable feeling of high stakes in many organizations – you work in an increasingly competitive industry, operating globally and therefore 24/7 (at least in terms of accessibility), and technology is rapidly changing the way you conduct business. Consequently, so much is needed to stay relevant, confident, and authentic amidst the stark realities of change management, process improvement and customer satisfaction against which you are measured.
If you believe coaching is a great way to approach supervision and develop people, great. But do you give your managers the know-how and time to coach? When I ask managers I work with whether their bosses support their talent development role, many say, no, or not much. Their performance is too often evaluated based only on their functional roles as program managers, sales team heads, etc.
There are important milestones in your professional development that will arise as you strive to accelerate and accentuate your leadership competencies. I am using the term leadership in a very generic sense, not implying any formal role, title or authority, but rather an elevated presence highlighted by intelligence, actions and behavior that inspires others to seek you out. Essentially, at various times in your career you will come to a crossroads, and whether by intention, guidance or luck, you might choose to go in one direction over another.
Organizations where coaching skills are infused in day-to-day practice have “higher employee engagement and stronger financial performance.” So says a 2014 International Coaching Federation (ICF) research report.
As I see it, more traditional approaches to leadership development involve three components: leader training programs, formal mentoring, and/or coaching offered to senior leaders (and sometimes to a select group of rising stars.) Comparing these three components highlights special features of coaching.