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Greetings from San Diego and happy summer to all! Here in San Diego, our infamous June Gloom has faded and we are now enjoying sun along the coast. We hope that your start to summer is just as nice. 

In this issue of the
Navigator,  we examine the competencies needed when transitioning from an Expert (Individual Contributor) to Managerial roles. These are historically difficult leaps as personal satisfaction and identification must dramatically shift from adding value as an expert to adding value as a manager of experts.
Issues and Observations in Making the Two Most Difficult Managerial Career Transitions.
A recent competency project with a well-known American apparel retailer prompted OSI to do a deep dive into the challenges of selecting and developing internal talent for front line leader roles, and then the challenges posed with a possible later career transition into roles in the "C" suite. The client had asked "what should I worry about in hiring and/or promoting into these two critical managerial levels?" To help think about the challenges, and maybe prime the pump for selection and training options, we produced the following content to compare the differences, the competency needs, and infer possible tests/measures and learning objectives.

Looked at from both a personal, career management perspective and an organizational perspective there were several conclusions evident:
  • Both individuals and organizations need to guard the door to entry level supervisor roles to ensure only motivated and capable individuals move into these jobs with amplified impact. For individuals, a mistake into moving into a supervisory role for just economic reasons can result in intense values angst, as personal identity clashes with role need. And for organizations a mistake in hiring a poor supervisor has profound impact in terms of associate turnover and other costly personnel turbulence issues.
  • Another conclusion is that exploring a candidate's recent work history is NOT sufficient for predicting success in these transitions. For example, using the best practice interview technique of asking candidates to relate episodes of success in similar contexts is problematic, as an individual contributor they may have not performed in similar contexts. And to a lesser degree the same may be true for transitions in strategic roles, as middle managers tend to be tacticians, and may not be able to relate to questions about strategy.
These two major transitions are described below with critical Polaris ® competencies and issues/concerns made explicit: 

Individual Contributor (adding value primarily as a functional/technical expert). Responsibility to execute.
Critical Polaris® Competencies Needed as an expert: Communicativeness, Composure, Drive/Energy, Functional/Technical Expertise, Initiative, Learning Agility, Sensitivity, Team Player.

Considerations as someone moves between Individual Contributor and First Line Supervisor.
  • Do I identify with the role of manager? Do I recognize this is a SIGNIFICANT career transition with profound personal implications?
  • Am I willing to be "on stage" (a role model) all the time? Do I enjoy relationships? Like working in and with teams? You cannot NOT communicate!
  • Will I be able to get my vocational satisfaction from managing the work of others versus my own contributions? Will I be able to easily delegate or tend to micro-manage?
  • Can I put in the required effort? Leading takes energy and self-awareness.
  • How does my personality match the demands of leadership? Some personality theory suggests that leading is best done by an extroverted, open/future oriented, rationale, and planful person. Successful leaders can come from an variety of personalities, but dispositions can enhance or constrain.
  • Do I have the intellectual curiosity and capacity to lead others? Being smart, quick and open to learning are attributes of the best leaders.
First Line Supervisor (adding value not only through technical/functional expertise, but also by managing and leading a team). Tactical responsibility.
Critical Polaris® Competencies Needed as a supervisor: Delegation, Talent Development, Results Orientation, Influence, Organizing & Planning, Problem Solving & Decision Making, Relationship Building, Team Management.

Considerations as someone moves between Manager of Managers and Strategic Leader.
  • Do I identify with the role of strategic leader?
  • Am I comfortable thinking in divergent space? Comfortable with ambiguity?
  • Do I think in terms of years?
  • Am I comfortable giving up all of my technical/functional value? I am now LEADING the orchestra, not playing the lead violin.
  • Am I a systems thinker? Do I strive to engage and synergize ALL functions? Do I truly appreciate the value that all line and staff functions add?
  • Do I have the confidence and communication skills to be THE leader?
  • Am I able to handle companywide town halls, earnings calls, shareholder meetings, etc.?
  • Am I willing to make the big bets to advance the enterprise? Acquire, divest, invest, etc.?
Strategic Leader (adding value by leading multiple functions across an enterprise). Strategic responsibility.
Critical Polaris® Competencies Needed as a strategic leader: Business Thinking, Financial Acumen, Global Mindset, Risk-Taking, Strategic Thinking, Visioning.

If you have comments or experiences that can help illuminate or understand these transitions, please share with OSI! We still see organizations and individuals frequently challenged by these transitions.

© 2018 Organization Systems International
Welcome to the Newest Member of the Polaris® Family
OSI is pleased to announce the law firm of Fish & Richardson as the newest member to the Polaris® license community.

Rio Negro Pulp Mill (RNPM) Simulation Goes Live
This spring saw the first application of the newest simulation in OSI's repertoire, Rio Negro Pulp Mill (RNPM). The simulation is cloud-based and can be delivered in classrooms and virtually, or entirely as a virtual experience.
Co-authored by our very own president/senior consultant, Bruce Griffiths, and our business partner, Enrique Washington. Competencies at Work is a thorough, yet digestible look at contemporary competency modeling. It will equip readers to understand, build, and implement competency models as a foundational and integrating element in talent management systems. Readers will understand how competency models have evolved to be the current best-pr actice in defining criteria for all talent management applications such as selection interviews, promotion panels, assessment centers, job descriptions, and learning objectives. The book also provides specific guidance in the steps needed to establish a sustainable model, with research results on universal competencies contained in most contemporary models.

Competencies at Work is available now through Business Expert Press or Amazon.
At Organization Systems International, we are celebrating over 37 years of quality, service, and innovation. We deliver client success with a high-performance approach designed to enhance occupational relationships, improve operational efficiency, and sustain customer relationships.

American Greetings
Avery Dennison
Blizzard Entertainment
Bowling Green State University
Dow Corning Corp.
GE Capital
Hydro Flask
Insurance Company of the West
Johns Lyng Group
Lawrence Livermore National Labs
L Brands

Lipscomb University
Nike, Inc.
Portland State University
Schneider Trucking Company
Standard Insurance Company
Starwood Hotels & Resorts
State Auto Insurance
University of California, San Diego
The Walt Disney Company
Wendy's International Inc.