During my tenure at Lucent Technologies (now Alcatel-Lucent), I was taught how to replicate myself for the greater good of the corporation. The process was fairly easy to learn, but it took a bold move of overcoming my fears to live the concept out loud. Those who were given the same opportunity and chose not to engage the process, found their corporate trajectory limited.
The concept of replication is simple: Reproduce your most profitable corporate skills within an equal or lower level associate in order to work yourself out of a job.
Work myself out of a job! Are you nuts!
The concept alone makes it clear why inner fears must be subdued in order to achieve success, especially during a time that no longer rewards loyalty. But restraining inner conflict isn’t half as important as figuring out how to replicate your skills in a way that equals or surpasses your current abilities – Generating greater value for the corporation.
During my experimental stages of replication, I learned that all workers are capable of replicating themselves in co-workers, which demonstrates an ability that becomes more valuable the higher he or she rises within the corporation.
I also learned: Everyone can empower themselves by replicating their abilities in others by following five steps.
1. DETERMINE THE SKILL THAT IMPACTS THE P&L
Understanding the direct correlation of your executable skills to the bottom line is essential to the replication process. In the case where access to the information is limited, understanding what your boss’s and his boss’s bonus is based on can suffice. Whether strategic or tactical, everyone has at least one skill that is directly related to the desired corporate growth.
In my first year on the network side of the business at Lucent Technologies, I was a Sales Specialist, a title held by a few thousand others (the company had 165,000 employees at the time). One day an executive asked me what I was doing. I had no idea how to answer, so he asked a high level manager to interview me and help me break my skills and process down. It was then that I realized my choices had directly impacted the bottom line and the executive wanted to replicate my skills to everyone carrying the same title. It was the first time I understood the power of replication.
2. DETERMINE THE PROCESS THAT FACILITATES THE SKILL
Analyzing and breaking the skill down into its basic steps is critical to the formation of an educational or replication plan. All skills can be broken down into easily managed and learnable elements. This process helps the mastery of the information at an accelerated rate.
I was hired by the new enterprise division at Motorola to sell wireless switches to campus-based businesses. My goal was to sell more than anyone else, even though I didn’t know how many had been sold. After closing my first switch sale, I was hit with a barrage of questions. The vice president wanted to know what I did and revealed that I was the first sales person to close a deal. He immediately shared the process he gleaned from our conversation and every sales person closed deals that year. It was an eye opening experience for me to realize the importance and structure of my process for replication.
3. TEACH THE BENEFITS AND PROCESS THAT DEVELOP THE SKILL
Co-workers require an understanding of the personal benefits gained by having a skill specific mentor, especially when it means more responsibility without a promise of additional pay. The benefits must be tied directly to the skill and not be filled with elusive fluff.
The benefits must also be tied to each process step to validate the process. If a benefit isn’t associated with a step, reconsider the necessity of that step. The why, behind each process step, causes the trainee to take responsibility for developing that portion of the needed skill set.
4. EMPOWER CO-WORKER WITH MORE RESPONSIBILITY
Practice develops confidence in using new skill sets and is best facilitated by affirmation and suggestions that keep the trainee within the parameters of the project scope. The ideal way of creating a safe place for training is to allow the co-worker to fail without fault. As a mentor, minor adjustments can be suggested to help alter the course of failure to that of success.
I received my Six Sigma green belt during my time at Motorola. The training process gave me responsibility for reducing expenses of a key product by $2MM. My black belt mentor guided my process and taught me how to think logically and structurally. He gave me full responsibility for the project and bragged about me to all the right people. While I didn’t receive a dime for my efforts, I did gain a significant amount of respect, which kept me alive during lay-offs. And, it was fun to learn that several people received bonuses as a direct result of my actions.
5. PROMOTE THE P&L RESULTS BASED ON THE NEW REPLICATION SYSTEM
Executives love to hear elevator pitches about how a newly implemented replication process directly impacts the P&L and their bonus. By bragging on the co-worker’s success, it becomes evident how they achieved their goal and the person behind the curtain. Not only does the executive learn about the co-workers new talents and how it improves his team, but he also understands who is behind the team’s growth – A far more valuable employee because of his ability to replicate success.
During my time at Home Depot, I had the opportunity to replicate some of my skills in one of my team members who longed for my position. We took time every week for a couple of months to bring him up to speed with the most important skills. When it came time for my move to another department, I was able to brag about his growth and accomplishments. The man I mentored quickly filled the job that normally took months to fill.
By giving away our skills, we can watch doors of opportunity open our future. With each open door, we work hard to develop our next set of skills and soon find ways of replicating it in time for our next level of success. After all, who better to be put in charge of all these growing skill leaders than the one who facilitated their growth.
Copyright © 2015 by CJ Powers