WORKSHOP: Personal Trainer - How can I identify the "stars" of tomorrow within my organisation?

Now that is a good question and one that is not very fashionable in the sector. Indeed we seem to be rather bad at succession planning generally. The idea that we would spot the "stars

and support them seems alien to our culture. But it shouldn't be.

The private sector is used to spotting high-flyers and providing strong professional development and promotion prospects. But there is some notion that this might be against equal opportunities. It isn't. Indeed as part of encouraging diversity, we should be spotting "stars

at all levels.

To predict potential, there are two critical areas. One is about core competencies and the other about blockages. Both must be addressed for talents and potential to be realised. Competencies centre around emotional intelligence or the superior "soft

skills which people use to form, lead and manage relationships.


will be people skilled in leadership and in negotiation, excellent communicators and people who can motivate and inspire. A high level of emotional intelligence is one of the strongest predictors of a leader's potential.

Your "stars

will be people who seek challenging experiences and who are prepared to change as a result of feedback. Your "stars

will also have strategic-thinking abilities. People who can deal with complex and difficult ideas but still relate to the big picture. They will often have bright ideas and if you spot someone (at any level) with ideas, cherish them.

But then you must also look at the blockages. There are plenty of these in the sector. We are not very good at giving feedback to people thus enabling our "stars

to learn better. We are also poor at providing professional development to anyone, let alone trying to prioritise for career and succession planning. ACEVO is unusual in running a development course for what we describe as "next generation chief executives".

But it is not just a case of looking at our senior managers. We need to be looking at talent at all levels and trying to predict people who will be the "stars

of tomorrow. If you have identified "stars

at lower levels, make sure they can progress in the organisation and make sure you don't lose them. People with ability will be ambitious and if you can't provide them with career support and development, they will find it elsewhere.

Stephen Bubb is chief executive of the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations (ACEVO).

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