The following was written by Tim Tokarczyk, a Leadership Consultant with FMI Corporation:
Leaders in the industry today deal with many challenges on a daily basis—finding and winning work, managing large and complex projects, meeting deadlines, satisfying clients, addressing near-continuous obstacles and much, much more. In the midst of the daily whirlwind, it can be easy to overlook one of the most critical aspects of leadership—developing others. Developing great talent is often seen as a “nice to do” activity, something you can address once the really important issues are taken care of. The problem with that philosophy is that you’ll never have time. There’s always something more urgent to be dealt with. However, to ensure your team and your organization survives long-term, developing exceptional leaders is among the most important priorities you have.
One of the biggest challenges confronting the industry today is the loss of talent, experience, and knowledge through the retirement of the Baby Boomer generation. Every day, thousands of experienced leaders and workers are retiring, taking with them their decades of experience. There is an increasing talent gap, as their roles are being filled by younger employees who have not yet had the same depth and breadth of experience. This a normal process, but in the wake of the Great Recession, it is creating big challenges throughout the industry.
The most-forward thinking leaders recognize the growing talent gap and are exploring the means of closing it. You can always hire great talent from outside your organization, but that is costly and requires a thorough examination of the candidates to ensure they fit your culture. One of the most effective means of ensuring your organization has the right talent is by growing it organically. Some of the questions leaders at every level need to be asking are:
- Who are my current top performers?
- What am I doing to invest in their continued development?
- Where do they want to go in their career? What can I do to help them?
- What knowledge or experience do I have that they need? How can I transfer that to them?
- How can I partner my more-experienced employees with my less-experienced ones so they can learn from each other?
To ensure your organization succeeds long-term requires an intentional, focused effort on growing exceptional leaders at every level of the business. If you haven’t made this a priority in your daily routine, now is the time to start. The questions above are just the tip of the iceberg in a process that may never feel urgent, but is essential to your company’s future.
Tim Tokarczyk is a Leadership Consultant with FMI Corporation, specializing in helping individuals, teams, and organizations in the construction industry reach their peak level of effectiveness. FMI is the leading provider of management consulting, investment banking, and people development services to the engineering and construction industry.