Magazine article Government Finance Review

Plano's Management Preparation Program: Preparing the Next Generation of Leaders: The City of Plano Embarked on a Methodical Journey to Ensure It Would Always Have Capable, Qualified Employees to Consistently Provide the Level of Service to Which Its Citizens Were Accustomed

Magazine article Government Finance Review

Plano's Management Preparation Program: Preparing the Next Generation of Leaders: The City of Plano Embarked on a Methodical Journey to Ensure It Would Always Have Capable, Qualified Employees to Consistently Provide the Level of Service to Which Its Citizens Were Accustomed

Article excerpt

The City of Plano, Texas, was confronting a problem that many jurisdictions face--planning an orderly transition to the city's next generation of leaders. A pending wave of retirements, combined with a lack of focused preparation, threatened to create challenges and potential performance gaps. To address this situation, the city implemented a comprehensive succession planning program, known as the Management Preparation Program of Plano ([MP.sup.3]), to help employees meet high performance standards. The goal of [MP.sup.3] is to anticipate changing needs and make sure the City of Plano remains a high-performance organization.

SHIFTING GEARS

By the late 1990s, it was apparent that Plano was no longer a growing community. The city had reached maturity, and it was time to shift gears. Not wanting to test the notion that one of the best predictors of future failure is past success, Plano embarked on a methodical journey to ensure it would always have capable, qualified employees to consistently provide the level of service to which Plano citizens were accustomed.

In 2001, a review of Plano's workforce indicated that 46 percent of the management team would be eligible to retire by 2006, and 70 percent would be eligible by 2010. The numbers were sobering, especially since there was no system in place to guide a transition process. Seeing the urgency of the situation, the city manager asked the Human Resources Department to find out about succession planning.

This in-depth research project began by asking the following questions:

* What are the strategic objectives of the organization, now and for the future?

* What are the strengths and weaknesses of the organization's culture?

* What changes, if any, are needed to continually improve the work environment?

* What executive and leadership competencies will be required to help the city succeed in the future?

* What assessment methods will help identify management candidates and develop systematic training?

* What tools are useful for evaluating program results?

After reviewing succession-planning models in both public- and private-sector organizations, Plano developed and customized a program to meet its specific professional development needs. Nine months later, the [MP.sup.3] was introduced. The three-phase, multidimensional program improves managers' cognitive and leadership skills while preparing them to perform successfully in next-level positions as they become available. Rather than risking service gaps as more managers retire, Plano has ensured performance continuity by preparing the right people to be in the right places at the right times.

HOW IT WORKS

Application Phase. The first step is the application process. Employees can submit applications on their own, or their names may be submitted by the city manager or an executive director. To help interested employees decide whether [MP.sup.3] is the program for them, they are invited to attend "lunch and learn" sessions to discuss program details and have questions answered by the program director and graduates. The succession planning team screens all applications, determining which candidates will move on to the next phase of the program. The team looks for evidence of increasing levels of responsibility and strength in leadership qualities such as communication, decision making, dependability, flexibility, innovation, and judgment. In addition, applicants and their supervisors are asked to assess the employee's skills, knowledge, and abilities

Assessment Phase. The assessment phase involves a more practical determination of whether employees are ready to successfully deal with the challenges that would be presented by moving into higher-level positions. Employees often seek promotions for the increased status and salary, but [MP.sup. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.