…So this morning I read a great piece here from Kris Dunn wherein he talked about the merits of having high potentials job shadow senior leaders to gain the critical experiences needed to fill their organization’s talent pipelines. Dunn does a great job of laying out what a program like this might look like, so check it out if you get a chance.

With that said, he also briefly touched on the utility of investing in rotational programs as a means of developing top talent, noting that in the absence of such investments it can often be difficult to build a bench of move-ready hipos.

As someone who started his career in a rotational program and enjoyed the experience, I always wondered why more organizations don’t have rotational programs… and why they don’t take the ones they have a step further. Allow me to elaborate: For example, in two of the four rotations I did during my program the position I filled was basically a rotational ‘seat’. E.g. I rotated into it, and another rotational graduate rotated out of the role. Then, eventually when there wasn’t a rotational program talent ready to move into the roles – they were turned them into permanent positions.

…But at the time I played with the idea of, ‘Why not keep it going?’ The departments were structured in such a way that the knowledge management process was optimized for the open positions, and the jobs were value added. Couldn’t those have stayed open roles where non-rotational program talent interested in development could have slotted into the roles for, say, 12 month rotations? I understand that objectively at that point they’re in a rotational program as well… but that’s kind of the point. In organizations I think too often there is a tendency to have a very small segment of the population slotted for rotational assignments, whilst everyone else is locked into roles for a minimum of 18/24/36/however many months/years.

…Granted, I recognize the importance of continuity players – people that are very good at their jobs and stay in them; heck, a lot of (most?) people want this after a certain point in their careers. And yet I can’t help but note that there are also a lot of people that want more development that don’t get it, and further that there are a lot more departments in companies around the world that could flex their groups to accommodate that development but don’t.

Maybe (as Dunn notes in his piece), the answer is more job shadowing in concert with an employee’s day-to-day responsibilities. But…I think it’s also possible that in a lot of 4/6/8/12/however many person departments there is at least one position that could be flexed into a rotational seat. Said group could do a talent swap with another department in their function (that also has a rotational seat). Everybody wins. Yes? No?

Wednesday morning thought stream…

As always, please share your thoughts in the comments section below.