BAE Systems ensures that all of its senior leaders undertake an annual performance and development review.
"This review includes the identification of their personal and professional development needs, a challenging task for some, unless supported by objective information. Project Management (PM) capability development is a priority for our business, hence the need to ensure that our senior PM community are offered a process to support their personal development planning," said Ian Grant, HR Director, BAE Systems.
Research supports BAE Systems processes. So why are organisations (in general) so bad at identifying personal development follow-throughs, and why is it that this is so often the section that is rushed through at the end of a development interview? The diagnosis-development model pictured below emphasises the importance of considering the problem before jumping to training as a solution. Organisations and their line managers, as well as individual project professionals do need to know: What strengths do we bring to our role? What areas do we naturally emphasise? What are the development priorities?
Approach to solution
To perform this diagnosis organisations can consider a variety of inputs. Self assessment, applied in a structured way, helps us to review where we think we may need to concentrate - the Association for Project Management (APM) competence self-assessment is a good starting point for this. 360 degree gives us valuable input into how others perceive us and is particularly good for reviewing behavioural competences - many organisations like BAE Systems are now offering this as an integral part of leadership programmes.
External assessments provide valuable insights into how organisations can position themselves against a broader external benchmark - the approaches here vary from simple knowledge tests to profiling and full-blown assessments such as the APM Practitioner. All of these inputs must be considered within the context of the demands of our role - what capability is needed within the organisation?
Through profiling and coaching interventions, CITI has been working with BAE Systems to support the 'diagnosis-development' processes. The sessions focus on supporting individuals in exploring their development needs from all perspectives and then, most importantly, encouraging them to take action - what is the first step to take, how will they take it and what support do they need?
Ian added: "BAE Systems has deployed the CITI profiling process to provide our senior PM practitioners with information that can enable them to identify opportunities to strengthen their professional capability. The outputs offer people an independently assessed personal benchmark against best in class. The clarity and objectivity of the feedback is an important enabler of effective personal development planning."
Models / tools used
APM competence framework RACI
"The classic training model, taking individuals out of the business to sit in a classroom for a week at a time, was not going to work for us. But at the same time, we knew we needed to raise our game in managing change. I have to say, your people are brilliant!"