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Strength on the Bench

For much of the last twelve months we have been engaged in two large projects which focused a very similar question:

Do we have the capacity in a key group of people to drive through a significant change in the way we operate and the new levels of performance we urgently need?

It has made me realise with renewed clarity how all the plans, programmes and consultants won’t get you round the fact that if you don’t have the people to deliver - you won’t deliver, whether that be focused on a network of senior leaders or a national sales force.

Yet experience has shown time and again this is the ‘undiscussable’ issue, never mentioned as glorious and ambitious plans are unveiled and road shows or briefings launched. It’s almost as if people don’t want to think about this – perhaps it will make them confront some unpalatable realities about the capacity for change in the organisation which they have been leading.

So failed change initiative is piled upon failed change initiative, and those who can leave, leave. At best there is often little more than a subjective line management assessment of the readiness of the organisation to change.

An investment in terms of focus, and an objective review of the supply side in terms of leadership capacity and capability, seems an obvious necessity - so why doesn’t it happen?

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