A pharmaceutical company had invested in developing its leadership team over the previous twenty four months with evident success. The financial results were improving. The organisation was considered to be stable after a period of instability over a number of years. Recent product launches were successful. Staff engagement was on the rise.
Due to the success of the leadership team and the overall contribution of the Australian affiliate to the Asian region, the Sydney based team was considered to be a source of talent for regional and global positions. Over an eighteen month period, four members of the original team were approached for promotions overseas. Whilst a great success story in itself, it potentially was draining the tacit knowledge that led to the successful turnaround of the business. How should the organisation promote both great people into senior positions and retain the knowledge that they had acquired over the previous years? This was challenging.
Our experience of assisting the leadership team in its development meant we were already close to them and their learning journey. We suggested that they needed to design a process that enabled the leadership team and the organisation to ‘loop and learn’. This is a continuous learning and ‘feeding back’ to others so that knowledge is captured and integrated into, ‘the way we do things around here’.
An active on-boarding process was developed to go beyond the normal on-boarding programs that demonstrate ‘the basics’ to the new person. Each new hire into the leadership team was buddied up with an existing team member to learn the ‘un-saids’. They spent time understanding the processes of how the team worked, the history of the team development and the conversations they had in order to get to this place of success. The rules of engagement were clearly articulated and the expected behaviours of a leader on the team and in the organisation were outlined. Each new hire also spent time with a coach from the edge to understand the history of the team development from an outside perspective.