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Welcome to Innovate Africa With Dotun Adeoye

Infinite, sustainable growth ideas and examples for strategic thinking executives every Sunday


Innovate Africa With Dotun Adeoye Every Sunday

Infinite, sustainable growth ideas and examples for strategic thinking executives every Sunday

Lead 1

A guide for cross-training potential leaders in a business

Your company is a complex organism; its people are part of that complexity. As such, you must nurture your workforce as an ecosystem. To do this effectively, you need to know how best to invest in the development of your employees and identify those who will rise through the ranks to become future leaders. While there are many ways to cultivate potential leaders within an organisation – some of which I’ll outline below – one strategy that should always be at the top of your list is cross-training. By exposing individuals with high potential but low seniority to different parts of their business before they’re ready for them, you can help them develop new skills (and build confidence) while also demonstrating how crucial cross-functional growth is for your organisation’s success.

Target potential leaders, not just rising stars.

To ensure that you are identifying potential leaders, look for people who are already doing things that will be important in the future. This can include taking the initiative on projects and working collaboratively with others to achieve goals.

It would help if you also looked for people with a passion for the business and a desire to make a difference.

Finally, you should consider looking for those willing to take on new challenges, even if it means stepping outside their comfort zone or leading in an area where they may not have experience yet.

Consider the foundation of leadership behaviours and practices that exists in your company.

Once you’ve decided that cross-training is the best way to develop your leadership pipeline, it’s time to consider how best. To do this, first, look at the foundation of leadership behaviours and practices in your company. For example, if a business is already built on strong leaders but needs more people with specific skill sets and expertise, then cross-training may be unnecessary. However, if there are gaps in leadership maturity or experience levels across all levels of management, then cross-training could fill those gaps quickly and efficiently.

Next, look at what is lacking in any formalised leadership development program within your organisation. Finally, look at what other companies are doing well; determine whether their programs could serve as an effective model for yours or if they’re too far away from what you’re looking for (and remember: copying isn’t always the best option). You’ll also want to consider how much time and energy each employee has available outside their everyday work responsibilities—is it enough? Could our employees use some extra help balancing life and work commitments? What would make our program most effective?

Finally, consider the goals set forth by both yourselves as leaders within your company as well as those set forth by your employees themselves when determining who should participate in what capacity during this type of program; they may have different perspectives based on where each person sits within an organisation chart-wise, but similarities nonetheless exist between everyone participating.

Identify what skills these future leaders will need – both technical and behavioural.

Understanding the skills needed for a particular role, whether technical or behavioural, is essential. Technical skills are often thought of as the “things” that must be learned to do a task well. For example:

  • How to write a business memo
  • How to conduct an effective meeting

Behavioural skills are intangible and relate more directly to how someone acts or interacts with others (rather than what they know). For example:

  • Being able to manage conflict constructively
  • Inspiring confidence in others

Provide the proper training to build skills.

Training is an integral part of growing your company. It’s what sets you apart from the competition, and it determines whether your team will successfully meet its goals. You must provide training that meets business needs, personal goals, industry trends and regulatory requirements.

Create specific programmes that help develop leaders to drive your business in new directions.

To do this, create specific programs that help develop leaders to drive your business in new directions.

  • Understand the scope of leadership skills. A leader needs to be able to communicate well with people and motivate them and have technical knowledge of the field they are leading. It’s not enough for a business leader to be skilled at one thing—they must understand how everything within their organisation fits together and work together.
  • Identify what you need from your employees. For example, if you cannot make decisions based on data, then perhaps it’s time for some training on decision-making processes so that everyone knows how they should go about making them (and maybe even why). This can help reduce confusion among coworkers when someone goes against protocol without explaining why they did so first hand.”

Expose them to senior executives outside their direct chain of command or management.

Exposure to senior executives outside their direct chain of command or management.

Leaders-to-be needs to be exposed to senior executives who are not in their departments or line of authority. This will tell them how people from different departments interact and work together, helping them understand the organisation’s culture and values.

Give them international assignments.

If you’re looking for the best way to prepare your employees for leadership roles, consider sending them on an international assignment. This will help them develop their skills and understanding of other cultures in a way that can’t be replicated by just working with different people at home.

If you choose to do this, remember that it is essential to have a sponsor and mentor who can help guide the employee through the experience. They should also be prepared for any language barriers they may encounter abroad.

Get them involved in cross-functional projects and broad-based initiatives.

  • Cross-functional projects and broad-based initiatives
  • Working with people from different departments, cultures, and backgrounds is an essential skill for leaders. Getting them involved in cross-functional projects will help them learn how to collaborate effectively with individuals from other parts of the business. In addition, by being exposed to various perspectives, they’ll gain valuable insight into how their skills can be used across the organisation.
  • Work location—the nature of your job can make it easier or more difficult for you to connect with others in your company. If you’re based at home most of the time but need access to colleagues around the globe via video conference or Internet conferencing software, then this might not be an issue for you at all! However, if you’re stuck behind a desk all day (or worse yet: chained to said desk), things start getting complicated fast…

A business leader should learn how to do everything to lead effectively

You may not realise it, but as a leader in your field, you are expected to be:

  • A jack-of-all-trades. You need to know how to do everything required for the business to succeed. This includes writing and editing content, developing software or web pages, designing clothing or making equipment—even if your job title is CEO.
  • A motivator of people. You will have employees who report directly to you and those who don’t but need direction from someone (you). You must motivate these individuals and inspire them with their work so they can give more of themselves toward the company’s success.
  • A developer of talent within yourself and others through coaching and feedback sessions on performance reviews where possible, otherwise known as “mentoring” at higher levels above management positions within an organisation where most leadership opportunities exist today due to their high demand among employers worldwide due mainly in part thanks again back when some early pioneers first started out building businesses like General Electric Company (GE) way back when its founder Thomas Edison invented light bulbs but since then has grown into many different areas including healthcare services aerospace manufacturing defence contracting telecommunications energy production industrial chemical processes engineering construction materials manufacturing food processing services transportation services banking insurance retailing financial technology service providers such as Google Microsoft Apple etcetera etcetera etcetera…

Bottom Line

Developing potential leaders is not easy; it requires dedication, commitment and, most importantly, the right resources and support. Building leadership skills takes time, as well as practical or experience-based opportunities. By giving potential leaders cross-functional experiences, you can help nurture their leadership capacity in the future. Not only will this give them a better chance of assuming a leadership position ‘one day’, but it will also provide them with invaluable life lessons that will leave a lasting impression upon them throughout their lives. While becoming a leader is often a journey of self-discovery, offering people these formative developmental opportunities can reap many personal and professional rewards. So if you want to develop the future leaders in your organisation, start by providing them with cross-functional experiences today! If you want to learn more about how to maximise your organisation’s investment in developing engaging leadership training experiences, get in touch!

Who am I?

I am Dotun Adeoye, a Business Growth Strategist & Author of the 5 Pillars of Business Growth.

I’ve built up my experience via serial entrepreneurship, consulting leadership roles in business growth, business development and product innovation in large companies worldwide in the last 30 years.

Today, I consult with large businesses on how to sustainably grow their businesses, sustain infinite growth, and ensure business continuity irrespective of the business climate.

Hire Dotun Adeoye to Speak Virtually or In – Person at your company’s event to cover this or other topics. You can also get in touch via +44 203 097 1718 or dotun at dotunadeoye.com.



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Innovate Africa

With Dotun Adeoye

Every Sunday


 Teaching business leaders how to grow their businesses & leave their legacy.