Friday, July 20, 2012

The Importance of Cultivating Champions in Your Organization

"I can't be the only one closing business here. The clients always want just me."
Ahhh...our Hero. Always there to come in and save the day. He is the one by which all others are measured. He gets the results and doesn’t need anyone else. He is Super Executive!

But a Hero is not what companies need.
Heroes are great for comic books and blockbuster movies. And in those fictional worlds, they always save the damsel in distress. But in the real world, their heroics might be doing more long-term damage than they realize.

Granted, Champion[s] take longer to develop. It takes longer because you are building your organization's future leaders who have only known one aspect of their job, essentially the mechanics of your deliverable. Training them to be Champions means giving them the actions and ability to understand a client's goals and challenges, synthesize them into an insightful recommendation, and close in a compelling manner.

Teaching people to think like you takes patience. You need the desire to first share your vision and understanding of what it takes to procure business with your company. Then is takes the tenacity to stay with someone and shape their behavior. You need to role-model for your high potential executives on how it is done but also let them try and fail.

You have to take time to explain what you are doing and why. Make sure they get your reasoning for why you act at a certain time in the process, what you heard from the client that made you react and why you are making certain recommendations.

They won’t become Superheroes overnight. Relax. Give it time. The process will show you what they have assimilated from your influence on them and what they haven't. That's the benefit of observation. Pinpointing their client procurement gaps is mission critical to completing the development of your execs and the most fulfilling part of leading people. Cue the Champion music.

Great leaders focus on leading people and developing their organizations. Influencing the behavior of those around you transforms their ability to represent your company in a grand way. Each exec grows in a way they never could without your belief in them and guidance. And you become a better leader because you have become a Champion of others versus a Hero with no equals.

Credit: Fast Company
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