Exploring Management, The Event

October 7, 2008

One of the goals of ChannelMEC is to provide some transparency into the management pipeline here at Microsoft — to discuss the roadmap to becoming a manager, and to share our collective experiences. As part of this roadmap, Microsoft offers a program called the Exploring Management Program, facilitated by the Management Development Group (MDG). Here’s a quick overview of the program:

The Exploring Management Program (EMP) is focused on developing an intentional pipeline of potential managers across Microsoft. The EMP focuses on exploring the manager role at Microsoft. The program provides opportunities for participants to develop managerial skills and to make an informed decision about whether to pursue a management career. The EMP is a 12 – 18 month program that contains a sequence of on-the-job learning activities, opportunities to learn from others, and formal learning events within the rhythm of the business.

Program Outcomes

Upon completion of this program, participants will have:

  • Gained an in-depth and realistic preview of the role of a manager at Microsoft.
  • Built a network of exploring management peers and Microsoft managers.
  • Used the provided tools to hold ongoing discussions with their manager regarding a management career path.
  • Completed a self-assessment with their manager to determine their managerial readiness.
  • Completed a development plan to use to explore management and to develop managerial skills.
  • Made an informed decision, with their manager, on whether or not to pursue a management career path.

As program participants explore the Management Career Path, the program provides an opportunity to investigate the Management Career Stage Profiles (CSPs) defined for management roles in each profession to see how their current role and skills might align. In November 2008, newly revised CSPs will be available which will more accurately reflect the scope, impact, and complexities of the manager role at Microsoft. These new CPSs will be introduced and used throughout the EMP.

Participants

Participants in this program have:

  • Been a full-time Microsoft employee for at least six months.
  • Achieved or exceeded commitments in their last performance review.
  • Never been a manager (with at least one FTE report) at Microsoft.
  • Not attended previous Exploring Management Conferences.
  • An interest in pursuing a manager role within 12–18 months, and in becoming a great manager.
  • In the opinion of their current manager, demonstrated management capability in their current role.
  • The endorsement of his her manager.

Program participation begins by attending an Exploring Management Conference. Within Puget Sound, managers self-nominate themselves and their managers decide whether or not to approve their nomination based on the program requirements. In the U.S. Field and International, managers directly nominate participants to the program.

I was able to participate in the Conference this past week, led by MDG’s Leah Wedul, who focuses on the pre-manager space. My role in the event was as a “table coach” — a group of current managers who share their experiences on a number of topics important to prospective managers, such as making the IC to Manager transition, how to develop your team, and so forth. It’s also a great opportunity for the participants to network, and just ask questions. The event is newly redesigned — instead of a single, huge event twice a year off-campus, the new format is to hold weekly events on campus for a month, allowing more people to attend. In October, there will be 4 different one-day events.

I thoroughly enjoyed participating, and will be coaching again the last week of this month. For those interested in attending, there will be another event held next spring — so be sure to self-nominate and start discussing this event with your manager.

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