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Over the past eighty-five years, the American Management Association (AMA) has delivered thousands of seminars to millions of participants across the globe. It is rare for us to attend any business gathering without meeting people with fond memories of an AMA program they attended sometime in their career, while many tell us of AMA programs that were important milestones that shaped their career progress.
For example, when Dan Tobin joined AMA several years ago, he spoke with an uncle who retired fifteen years earlier from a sweater manufacturer, where he worked his way up from office manager to company CEO. He said that over the span of forty years he attended half a dozen AMA seminars, and that they ranged from very good to outstanding, and that all were important milestones in his career progression. AMA’s CEO, Ed Reilly, recently met a Fortune 500 CEO who told him that early in his career he had attended an AMA seminar on strategic planning, and by using what he learned in that seminar he accelerated his journey from a young marketing manager to eventually becoming the company’s CEO.
For years, AMA’s corporate customers have repeatedly asked us two questions:
• What is AMA’s competency model for individual professionals, first-level managers, and mid-level managers?
• How can our organization best develop its employees so that we have a ready supply of future management and leadership talent to grow our organization? This book will help answer those questions.
In AMA’s history there were attempts to answer the competency question with rudimentary competency models and a concept we called “learning paths.” This is not to say that there was no information on the subject generally available. There are many competency models to be found in the worldwide management literature, from consulting and training firms, business school professors, and training pundits, as well as hundreds or thousands of company-specific competency models developed over the past decades. And there are tens of thousands of books offering management advice from hundreds of publishers around the world, including AMACOM, AMA’s own book publishing operation.
Starting two years ago, AMA’s portfolio management group, which is responsible for defining AMA’s program offerings, led an organization-wide effort to define an AMA competency model for individual professionals, first-level managers, mid-level managers, and functional managers. This research examined a number of models that existed in the public domain, including many of the well-researched competencies developed by the Lominger organization, the U.S. Government Office of Personnel Management (OPM), and the UK Management Standards Centre. In this book, we further categorized these competencies into three broad categories, those that deal with:
• Knowing and managing yourself.
• Knowing and managing others.
• Knowing and managing the business.
Please note that even for individual professionals, both those who aspire to climb the management ladder and those who plan to stay in individual roles, there are important competencies required in all three of these categories, for even if an individual professional will never “manage the business,” he or she still needs to have some business knowledge and acumen.
The AMA Management Development Competency Model, as presented in this book, is not meant to be the be-all and end-all of competency models, but it provides a realistic framework of competencies on which to base your organization’s management development efforts. Because competencies are general in nature, there can be lengthy debate on what to call a given competency, or whether a particular competency is more or less important for individuals at a given level of the organization, or whether your organization’s culture puts greater or lesser emphasis on some competencies as compared with others. These discussions and debates are a good sign that your organization is thinking about the importance of developing its management talent to ensure its success.
The second question, “How should our organization develop its managers?,” has no one right answer. If there were a single correct answer, there would be one theory, one book, one training program, and one guru on the subject, rather than the thousands that you can find in today’s market. This book does not present an outline of a specific training program for managers, but rather offers advice on what your organization needs to do to be effective at developing the managers (through training and many other development methods) who will keep your organization running today and growing tomorrow.
The responsibility for developing managers cannot be left solely to your organization’s training group. It is one of our objections to the popularity of “corporate universities” that in too many organizations that have established such entities, managers now feel freed from their responsibilities to develop their employees—“I don’t have to worry about that any more because we have the corporate university to handle it.” As described in this book, there are vital roles in management development for the organization’s executives, the human resources group, the training group, and most importantly, managers and their employees. Without the active participation in and support of management development of all these groups, you will not get maximum value from any development initiative you undertake.
Evaluation of training efforts has become an increasingly hot topic over the years as training organizations try to justify their expenditures on employee training. Most books on training use the last chapter to discuss evaluation methods. We start this book with evaluation. Chapter 1, “Starting with the End in Mind,” posits that if you plan your management development efforts well, by tying all such efforts to specific organizational, group, and individual business goals, their value to your organization will be self-evident and you will never be asked to justify the expense post facto.
In Chapters 2 through 5, we present the AMA Management Development Competency Model. Chapter 2, “Competence: The Ability to Do Something Well,” defines competence, discusses distinctions between “management competencies” and “leadership competencies,” and provides background information on the process we used to develop the AMA Management Development Competency Model. Chapter 3 covers those AMA competencies that deal with knowing and managing yourself, while Chapter 4 describes those included in the category of knowing and managing others, and Chapter 5 defines those related to knowing and managing the business (whatever business your organization may be in).
In seeking people with a given set of competencies, organizations always have the options to either buy those competencies (hire employees who already possess the needed competencies) or build them within the organization’s current employee base. Chapter 6, “Selecting for Competence,” discusses how to screen external or internal candidates for specific competencies. Chapter 7 deals with employee learning, both self-directed learning and training provided by the organization. Chapter 8 discusses a wide range of options for developing management competencies that fall outside the realm of formal training programs.
Knowing the competencies needed for effective management, and understanding how to develop those competencies, will not get your organization very far unless the right people in the organization step up to take responsibility for management development. In Chapter 9, “The Employee and the Manager: The Key to All Development,” we focus on the two people who have the primary responsibility for all employee development. Chapter 10 discusses the vital role that the organization’s top leaders must play in building a “leadership pipeline” to ensure that the organization has the management talent it will need in the future to help the organization prosper. In Chapter 11, the focus is on the role of the Human Resources (HR) group in identifying and developing management talent. In many organizations, the training group is part of the HR group, while in other organizations it is separate from HR. For the purpose of this book, we deal separately with the role of the training group in Chapter 12.
In Chapter 13, “The Future of Management Development,” we examine some of the current and future trends that are likely to impact the future of your company’s management development efforts. We are grateful to Florence Stone, editorial director for the American Management Association, who conducted a number of interviews with leading thinkers in the field on our behalf and to the interviewees, listed below, for sharing their thoughts with us. They include:
• Professor Richard Boyatzis of Case Western University
• Professor Henry Mintzberg of McGill University
• Jay Jamrog, research vice president of the Institute for Corporate Productivity (I4CP)
• Professor David Ulrich of the University of Michigan
• Professor Allan Cohen of Babson College
• Professor Michael Watkins of IMD (Lausanne, Switzerland)
• Executive coaching guru Marshall Goldsmith
This book is not designed to be a blueprint for management development with detailed specifications on every aspect of the process. No two organizations’ management development efforts will look alike—nor should they—each should be tailored to the specific needs and culture of the organization. Our hope is that this book will provide some new ideas, and remind you of some longstanding principles, in the broad field of management development that will help you succeed in your organization’s efforts. If you get some new ideas, and if this book sparks some debates within your organization on how you should be developing your management talent for the future, we will consider our purpose well served.
American Management Association