Training Industry Magazine - January/February 2019 - 15
SAM SHRIVER & MARSHALL GOLDSMITH
TO MAKE AN
Have you ever seen a truly gifted athlete
who went on to become a mediocre coach?
How about a record-breaking salesperson
who was an absolute nightmare as a
sales manager? A top-notch surgeon
who wound up running a hospital into
the ground? Of course, you have! It's a
recurring irony. The talent you display in
one role positions you for a promotion to
another, then can wind up at the core of
your struggles once you get there.
This dynamic was first addressed by
Harvard professor Robert Katz in 1955. He
described organizations as boxes divided
into three layers.
* Nonsupervisory: They are the base, or
the foundation, of the organization.
The comparatively large number of
nonsupervisory employees do the work
the organization exists to do.
* Management: The people in the middle!
This includes first levels of supervision
and sometimes several tiers of "middle
managers" responsible for planning,
organizing and influencing targeted
* Executives: The comparatively few who
occupy the top tier in the organization
and are accountable for developing,
orchestrating and implementing viable
Katz then identified and defined the skills
that were reliable predictors of success at
each of the organizational levels: technical,
human, and conceptual skills.
* Technical Skills: The ability to leverage
knowledge, methods, techniques and
equipment to perform at a sustained
and acceptable level. If you want to
succeed in a nonsupervisory role, you
need to excel at the technical aspect of
organizations supposed to do, promote
people who have proven they don't know
what they are doing?).
* Human Skills: Intuition and judgement
in working with and through others
to achieve performance objectives.
Mangers are distinguished based on
their ability to consistently execute
Conversely, 80 percent of the reason those
employees struggle or fail when they
become a manager can be tied to their
limited grasp of, or experience with, human
skills. This is the crux of the irony referred
to above. Doing something yourself is
one thing, but getting somebody else to
do it is something altogether different.
to accurately interpret complex
organizational and market dynamics,
then make decisions that secure
desirable competitive standing.
Executives are measured on their
ability to "read these tea leaves" and
ROLE THE TRAINING
FUNCTION CAN PLAY
AS EMPLOYEES MOVE
Now, in the context of the theme for
this issue, consider the role the training
function can play as employees move
from one role to another during their
careers. For the sake of example, let's
confine our focus to a jump most
make early on in their careers as they
transition from front-line employee to
First off, there is irrefutable research that
suggests roughly 70 percent of the reason
employees receive that first promotion
rests with the comparative mastery of
technical skill. This trend passes the
common-sense test and is unlikely to
change any time soon (i.e., what are
This is where the training function can
serve a critical role. Think about some of
the common human skills challenges a
new supervisor faces:
* Formally managing employees who a
short time ago were peers;
* Introducing change that isn't welcomed
or perceived as necessary; and
* Effectively integrating new hires to a
tenured and intact team.
Many of these challenges can be simulated
based on actual, company specific history,
as a mechanism for preparing aspiring
managers for their future roles. Beyond
that, these kinds of immersive, assessment
center experiences can provide qualified
technical performers with a window
into the expectations of a job primarily
defined by human skills. If nothing else, it
provides those individuals with the
opportunity to make an informed choice.
Marshall Goldsmith is the world authority
in helping successful leaders get even better.
Sam Shriver is the senior vice president
of commercial operations and product
development at The Center for Leadership
Studies. Email Marshall and Sam.
T R A I N I N G I N DUSTR Y MA GAZ INE - THE ROLE OF L+D IN SUCCESSION PLANNING 20 19 I WWW. T RAININGINDU S T RY . C OM/ MAGAZ I NE
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Training Industry Magazine - January/February 2019