Friday, October 15, 2010

Job Rotations: Too Fast?

Generally, I'm a proponent of developing leaders within an organization by rotating individuals through a series of increasingly challenging assignments, particularly early in their career. However, some firms' practices concern me, because they seem to move people at a very rapid pace. Why worry about fast rotations? As people advance in their career, they work on increasingly complex projects. These projects, from conception to complete execution, often take quite some time. If their job rotation is too short in duration, then individuals may not see a plan that they conceived all the way through to completion. In that type of situation, we may actually not be maximizing their learning and development by moving them on to a new assignment so quickly. Moreover, it may become very difficult, if not impossible, to judge their performance, if they have moved on before an project has been implemented fully. To some extent, then, fast rotations encourage and reward people with big ideas, but don't actually examine whether they have the skills and capabilities required to translate those ideas into action.


Jean-Fran├žois D'Arcy, Ph.D. said...

Your post resonates with my personal experience in the aerospace world where the adequacy of a solution or approach is often not known until months or years have passed and field or operational testing is performed. Developing leaders have often already moved on to other projects when issues come up. If one does not expect to be accountable for a design or approach, risk management may be neglected (and "big ideas" are easier to come up with...).

ken long said...

a second phenomenon: the enthusiasm of organizations to leap from major change project to major change project (transforming! ...again!... and its only Wednesday!) on projects led by the best and brightest, and the problem of individuals learning the integrative side of change mgt is now applied to the organization as a whole: a sort of ADD at the org level; fragmented, dis-integrated, dis-integrating in front of our eyes, and we move even more quickly to seize the next silver bullet. You cant grow a garden that way either. Keep up the great work!