This is my first blog as we enter a world that is starting to exist following the pandemic that contained so many restrictions. It feels fitting that I write it the day after we had the judging panel interview for the CIPD Awards for ‘The Best SME People Management Initiative’ for our entry regarding our ‘StratStars’.
An early blog that I wrote whilst working for Strategi Solutions Group Ltd talked about the Strategi Academy whereby we utilised the Apprenticeship Levy to recruit new Apprentices and Graduates providing a clear career path for them to grow with Strategi whilst upskilling our existing team. The StratStars is the next phase of the Strategi Academy and has seen immediate success.
So who are the StratStars? They are a team of 4 who I believe will go on to form part of the Strategi Board in the coming years as we develop our growth strategy. When doing an early 1:1 with one of the team who was 23 years old with less than a years’ service with Strategi, I was surprised when she explained she wanted to be on the Strategi Board in 5 years’ time.
I spent time thinking about if and how that would work and at times I become frustrated that it is easy to only use Directors to make decisions and formulate Strategy and that is something that we don’t do. I then considered how I could make it so the younger members of the team could add value in that forum and my initial fear is that whilst they are incredibly talented individuals that they don’t necessarily have the skills needed for the board room. The answer was quite simply to ensure that they have those skills ready to progress when the time was right.
I then set aside a morning to set out the programme. I recall shortly after finishing the session, one of the team saying to me that they couldn’t believe how seriously I had taken this. For me, this is one of the most serious initiatives I have ever worked on. At Strategi we are very clear on out succession plans and how we will continue to evolve the business to ensure we remain successful. The StratStars have an opportunity to become Directors at Strategi in the next 5 years.
The early success of the initiative is why we put in a submission to the CIPD awards, and it was thoroughly enjoyable to discuss it with the judges and great to have one of the StratStars presenting alongside me. It was great to talk about how the initiative was a medium to long term plan that was already starting to show success. We even discussed specific measurables that we were able to attribute to the initiative.
An important part of the initiative has been to go above the characteristics and behaviours that the team need to learn to form part of the board and give accountability to the team on business-critical projects. This has given them an insight into the kind of responsibility that comes with their planned progression.
It is a pleasure to lead such a forward thinking business and I look forward to continue developing the team.