While organizations make very significant investments in identifying and developing team leaders, such investments are not always the best way to develop expertise, according to Mark Smith, CIO of Aon.
As a service company that consults on all elements of risk, Aon is a company of experts, he says, and that is a personal revelation during a management training session six years ago that led him to consider a different approach.
This, in turn, saw the introduction of a new professional development program, which started in the IT group and has now spread throughout the company.
As with many tech groups, Smith’s team profile and expectations have increased dramatically during COVID, especially during the initial phase.
“It was a crazy time, but the team relished the challenge. The support, the experience and the positivity that came with it, all the feedback from the company was great, it was just amazing, ”he says.
Smith believes the Organizational Resilience Test amplified teamwork and collaboration within the company, using technology, planning and a commitment to people to effectively navigate the pandemic.
A revelation in an offsite program made Smith realize that all training was focused on management, but the company was mostly made up of experts and not managers.
“We are maybe 10% managers, 90% experts, and I really started to ask myself the question, why are we not doing anything for the heart of the company, the people who are in in front of customers, the people who design the solutions? “
Working with Alistair Gordon of HFL, the parent company of Expertunity, the duo built a purely internal program, which, six years later, is the cornerstone of the development of the company’s team.
Smith credits the course for giving employees time to think about the work they are doing. Above all, he says it has put an end to the idea that the only way to progress is to become the team leader.
“There are so many examples I can think of where people, they were the rising stars of the green pool, they became the team leader, they got promoted, they thought that was what they were. had to do, and then suddenly their performance started to decline. “
“They didn’t become bad employees or co-workers overnight, it just wasn’t what they wanted to do. So I think a lot of that as an organization is now that we have now recognized the importance and value of the expert.