Why Career Pathing is Bogus!

career pathingTraditional HR think is that companies need to have career pathing. Do you really believe this is true? Have you ever really noticed how potential talent became great talent. It’s not from going to A then B to C but to accelerate that move from A to C to F and then onward. Not from career pathing but from mentoring, coaching or having someone taking them under their wing and helping them accelerate their potential. Take a look at these famous pairings: Warren Beatty & Diane Keaton, Mel Gibson & Heath Ledger, Johnny Carson & Garry Shandling and Jay Leno. These three different pairings were all mentored and provided with opportunities to truly challenge themselves. They all made mega-leaps. Ultimately they became great stars in their own right.

Career pathing creates a bunch of drones. But consumers want to do business with a group of savvy charismatic individuals who believe in what they are doing and can show why they are different from their competitors. Drones are for Star Trek sequels, not for companies. If you focus on career pathing your stars will move on and then take your company to the cleaners. It’s time for companies to wake up and find the talent within and outside their companies and challenge them aggressively because that’s what top performers love; to be challenged. If you want to have great talent in your company let them shine and give them opportunities to try new things. Traditional career pathing is a death sentence a walk along the plank for the candidate and the company. Greatness comes from challenge and opportunity not from some same old boring formula. So what can you do to start mentoring in your company.

Alison Green @AskaManager http://www.askamanager.org/2008/07/how-to-mentor-someone.html suggests these 7 things to mentor someone:

  1. Invite them to sit in while you do things—interviews, important meetings, whatever. Talk to them afterward, and point out why you did particular things.
  2. Talk to them about dilemmas you’re facing in your own job. Tell them the options you’re weighing and the various factors you have to take into consideration—and eventually what you’re deciding and why. If you do this enough, over time, they’ll start honing their own instincts.
  3. Give these people greater and greater responsibilities. Give them things they’re not sure they can handle, and talk them through it. Help them figure out their approach, and talk over how it went afterward.
  4. If you can, give them an intern to manage. Talk regularly about the management challenges that arise and how to handle them—everything from feeling comfortable being in a position of authority to addressing sloppy work to what to say when the intern shows up in flip-flops.
  5. Talk to them directly about their goals. Actively look for ways you can help them move toward them.l Give honest and direct feedback.
  6. Give them the confidence to take on more by making sure you tell them how great they are. Early in their career, outstanding people tend to think they’re average. Help them recognize when they’re capable of more.
  7. When the time is right, promote them or help them find the next step in their career—even if that means losing them.
Great advice! I will add one more:

8. Replace yourself often. Give great talent greater and greater mentors.

It’s amazing how many people still hire people who are no smarter than they are. Mr. CEO, time to get rid of those dinosaurs if you want your company to thrive. While you’re at it get rid of career pathing and put in place an aggressive mentoring program. What do you think? Let me know?

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About attackdefenddisrupt

An executive with over 20 years providing recruiting, talent management and IT solutions to corporations and government.
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