Inbox: Up the organisation

With an abundance of qualifying courses and following CPD opportunities at their disposal, young business executives are well prepared in theoretical terms to aspire to career advancement in their respective companies, or are they?
While case-based study supported by role play can go long way to enhance the learning process, it lacks the real live application in the company of experienced mentors to be groomed for leadership corporate positions.
Drawing on my own early experience as an up-and-coming young manager in supportive employment relationship I was able to supplement my essential skill sets for further promotion with active involvement as volunteer director on the board of non-profit membership association.
Rubbing shoulders with older and wiser colleagues from business and professional backgrounds in team environment I was able to test my ability to manage projects for the public benefit that involved negotiations with external decision makers.
To my employers, this provided two-fold benefits. Allowing me time to develop additional competencies at little cost to the organisation, while at the same time meeting the company’s objectives as good social citizen, was seen as good investment by my superiors, which I rewarded with my further career in the sponsoring corporation. The receiving voluntary organisation benefited from my enthusiasm and fresh approach with the prospect of succession to higher elected office.
Many New Zealand incorporated societies and charitable trusts, regardless of their history and track record find themselves in decline due to their inability to infuse new blood and fresh ideas to meet the needs and expectations of younger and more demanding constituency.
While not lacking in emotional intelligence and know-how at board level, their leaders are unable to hand over the reins in the absence of new recruits to enable the association or foundation to fulfil its necessary role in society.
While it can be argued that this is indicative of lack of perception in the wider community, it stands to reason that complacency and lack of forward planning are also contribution factors.
Drawing on my early experience as corporate volunteer loaned executive I can vouch for the effectiveness of grooming for higher office in terms of career advancement. Enabling my employer to engage with an NFP or charity of its choice, involved better understanding of the social and societal needs of its customer base in marketing terms.
Assigning its younger executives in an external relations capacity could also be applied in its relationship and representation as member of its own industry body. The New Zealand Association Resource Centre Trust is able to provide advice and matching service to interested individuals and companies interested in longer term commitment with expectations that meet their respective objectives and are to their mutual benefit. M

Ralph Penning is an NZIM accredited management mentor and acts as an advisory trustee.

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