Sonoma County has a keen interest in providing employees with opportunities for advancement. The County also is committed to ensuring retention of high-performing employees and, to the extent possible, promoting from within the ranks of existing County employees.
The creation of a strong “back-bench” leadership pool is the key factor to meeting these objectives, and the fastest route to a successful leadership pool is an organizational culture grounded in a succession "mindset."
Virtually all succession development is rooted in the appropriate assumption that tomorrow's leaders can be identified from today's talent pool. By using agreed-upon leadership competencies as the lens through which to observe and evaluate behavior, individuals can be groomed and developed so they can effectively compete for promotional opportunities through a combination of education, mentoring, job rotation, and other strategies.
The County Succession Development Model
The County's succession planning model incorporates the following elements:
Talent Review Forums
Process-driven forums for conducting transparent reviews of anticipated vacancies, bench strength, and readiness at multiple levels across the entire County.
Sonoma County HIGHER
A multi-month program designed to prepare leaders for senior roles in the County. Attended by a select group of around 25 mid- to upper level managers, the Academy includes seven (7) facilitated training sessions, approximately one month apart, taught by experts; mentorship from senior leaders in the County utilizing a process that will be scalable toward a more generalized mentorship program; and a behavior-based 360 degree leadership development assessment supported with individualized coaching sessions, interpretation, goal-setting, follow-up, and behavioral reinforcement. SoCo HIGHER culminates in a series of small team projects to create viable solutions to existing County, organizational and/or community issues with a mentor or coach assigned to each project team.