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The managerial ladder is often built with rungs that depend on technical expertise. If an employee proves that they have the skills to perform the business tasks required of their position, they are promoted to the next rung. While technical proficiency is essential to performance, management skills are critical to get others to perform.

This does not, however, mean that technical experts should not be promoted – but rather that management specific training should be offered to aid them in performing effectively in their management role. Internationally recognised author, Idowu Koyenikan, is quoted as saying; “You have to work on the business first before it works for you.” Upskilling the management team is the ultimate in working on the business, empowering the transfer of skills, team cohesion and overall productivity.

A crucial element in this training process is the business’ organisational style. “Are your organisation’s objectives shaped based on the collective of your people’s individual objectives, or are your people’s objectives formulated around the organisations objectives?” questions Mark Orpen, Chief Executive Officer at The Institute of People Development (IPD).

These opposing organisational styles give rise to vastly different cultures, with those who aspire to be people managers facing varying challenges. “Rising staff churn leads both to the erosion of workplace skills and to the loss of valuable institutional memory. This places greater pressure on succession planning - which is becoming more complex due to evolving political, social and economic climates both locally and abroad,” adds Orpen.

Senior executives, thought leaders, business schools, management consultants and instructional designers across the world are constantly grappling with defining context specific people management solutions. “Most people like to buy, but few like to be sold to. Similarly, most people want to work, but few like to be managed. Just as sales is a unique skill, so managing is an art requiring constant innovation, employing new ways to stimulate performance and productivity,” explains Orpen.

To create effective learning solutions, an understanding of diverse people management challenges and a wealth of experience in skills development are essential. “As such, breaking new ground in management development is essential to designing an innovative, flexible and agile learning solution,” states Orpen. “This programme strives to provide managers with the necessary skills to deliver implementable, well-structured succession planning strategies.”

From experienced managers that lack a formal management qualification in order to access a business school degree; to BEE candidate team leaders seeking a management position in line with employment equity targets; or employees whose personal development plans require the honing of job specific management skills - the right management training is critical to success.

“Delivering cohesive training that fast tracks improved performance, integrates organisational specific policies and procedures, and ensures that job-specific workflow processes and outcomes form part of the learning and assessment process is the goal,” concludes Orpen. “This provides a basis for immediate measurement of improved performance and return on investment for the programme, while improving the retention rates of trained managers. The result is graduates who are qualified and can apply their skills in (and to the benefit of) the workplace.”