There are some leaders that enjoy the arrival process at a new organization, fixing issues during the honeymoon phase, and then leaving when the C suite starts asking, "What have you done for me, lately?" Organizations often look externally for candidates that will take a fresh look at issues and solve world hunger. They don’t like to look within because, “if my current employees were all that good, I would not be in the mess I am in!
The concept of grooming leaders is often lost on most organizations. Some VP's are not able to look at supervisors that have worked their way up to Director without still treating them like they are new to the club. They fail to realize that those that rise to the top are often gifted with leadership traits that cannot be taught.
Natural leadership is the Art of Influence. Following someone is predicated on their wisdom and often on their charisma as well. In large organizations the wisdom is not only in recognizing the workarounds to getting things done, but the political mine fields and personalities of those around them. For instance, knowing that the Revenue Cycle Director is heavily dependent on the associate director and will never make a decision with him or her is critical to getting things done in their department. You cannot put a price tag on corporate knowledge and wisdom.
Navigating the political waters is an essential trait of leadership. But too often we reach out to the recruitment pool and pluck someone that is eager to leave their job for greener ($$$) pastures. These new employees will take years to learn the political land mines and they often just stay long enough until the next recruiter calls them. If you are a Pixar fan, you might remember the dog named “Dug” in the movie “Up.” He was the one that got distracted every time he saw a squirrel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fy-CBs0XNlM. I see too many resumes from Dug's that stay just long enough until they see the next opportunity. I often have to tease out the real mind set of the candidate to figure out that he or she is a “Dug,” looking for the next opportunity and thinking that the best place to be is the next Job.
The sad part is that you may already have the right candidate waiting for a chance to step up. They have roots in your organization; they feel loyal and are not looking for a large compensation package to do something that they have always wanted to do anyway. VP’s and Directors need to carve out time for mentorship. If you never had a mentor, then think back to those that you admired and emulated and provide those teaching moments to your subordinates. Some of the most successful leaders are the ones that can look at subordinates and say, “I have been there and I know what you are up against.” In the Navy the Officers that came from the Enlisted ranks are called “Mustangs.” They are always charging forward, they are hard to tame, and they are the hardest workers.
Remember the example of the associate Revenue Cycle Director that really made all the decisions? What is keeping you from giving them an opportunity to move up? Of course if you still want to review external resume’s I am sure there are plenty of Dug’s out there waiting for the next…Squirrel!