Most organisations spend considerable time and money ensuring the job-fit of new hires because they understand that companies that hire, engage and retain better people have higher profit margins.
It makes sense then that these same principles should also be applied to succession planning.
And yet, how often do we see problems associated with a poor job-fit when an existing team member is promoted into a role that just doesn’t suit their individual behavioural style?
Case Study: What’s wrong with John?
John had been with his organisation in Melbourne since graduating with a commerce degree nearly ten years ago. He was identified as a diligent and efficient executive and was promoted from an accounting position into a head-office management role within five years.
This new role suited John’s natural behavioural style because he was focused on helping and guiding his office team which largely involved repetitious routines and the exact following of instructions. He was well-liked and respected by his team.
John’s ability to identify performance issues within various departments and regions impressed the CEO and he gained his respect to the extent that he earmarked John as a ‘rising-star’.
John’s ‘big opportunity’ came through the resignation of the State Manager of an under-performing region. Because of John’s ability to recognise and often pre-empt possible challenges, the CEO offered him the higher-paying State Manager role.
John accepted the promotion and relocated interstate with his partner and young family.
The new role meant that John had to deal with some difficult employees and poor-performing staff. He knew that this meant he needed to adopt a more demanding attitude and sometimes take (what he felt was) a blunt and almost aggressive approach. To be successful in the role, he needed to be strong-willed and uncompromising and this began to have a significant effect on him.
John felt enormous pressure and was regularly arriving home late completely exhausted which, in turn, put more pressure on his relationship with his family and left him wondering what he was doing wrong.
John eventually decided that he wasn’t suited to the role and he resigned from the firm. This meant that the organisation lost a valuable and efficient employee who had been so effective in his previous role and should never have been appointed to a job that required an uncompromising and somewhat inflexible approach.
John should never have been selected for the State Manager role. His behavioural style simply did not suit the job requirements.
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