Those who have been in active service with the Forces will know this to be a low-level tactical formation. I guess some people have also thought it was a battlefield tactic! Such people contribute greatly to the horrors of war. Training our people and getting them thinking two levels up has always been a priority, or so I have been told. I’ve practised it whenever and wherever I could. Do you endeavour to do the same – getting the degrees of proficiency of your people two levels up? Ok, maybe you don’t want your chambermaids to be thinking like hotel General Managers when they turn over rooms. Or do you? With the shortages in such appointments being felt by the hotel industry, perhaps another paradigm is required? Perhaps it’s as easy as paying them decently and treating them well, like what the owner of Eighteen Chefs does?
All of us know intuitively that the concept of getting our people two levels up is a good one. We would have our leadership pipelines full for succession requirements, have bench strength for unforeseen gaps in staffing and have great quality people all down the line. Trouble is, we tend to have a lot of fears about actually implementing such a philosophy. Maybe we fear that our people will leave us for greener pastures if they find themselves “overqualified”. Perhaps we fear being replaced in a leadership coup. Or it could be that we don’t want to “overtrain” our people, going along the same line of thought as “Just-In-Time” concepts. Whatever it is, if we wish to grow our people by bringing them “Two Levels Up”, then we need to ensure that at least three conditions are met.
1. Inspiring leadership.
As leaders, we need to desire being continuously upgraded. If we are continuously growing ourselves, our people would be more inclined to follow suit. We also need to establish conditions such that our people would desire to grow without any “pushing” from ourselves. You need to define what those conditions are for your own outfit, each one is different. But define them you must, or you will find yourself in the situation of creating desire without the means of fulfillment, and that will not bode well for you.
2. Performing team.
You must already have a performing team, otherwise trying to bring your people “Two Levels Up” will fall flat on its face. While it is true that team performance will become better when team members are in a stage of continuous growth and improvement, your team must at least be a performing team first!
3. Stakeholder value, not Personal Ambition.
If people wish to be continuously upgraded because of personal ambition, the whole initiative on your part will ultimately fail. Personal ambition can seem to make one successful, but it is never enough to sustain that growth in the long run. Having a team that always thinks in terms of stakeholder value will facilitate your move to bring your people “Two Levels Up”.
What do you think? Would it be worth your while to train your people to be able to assume responsibilities two levels up in your organization should the need arise? Chew on that for a while, and do let me know what you think!