Crossing the Chasm of Leadership Succession – are you ready?

What's in your Leadership Talent Pipeline?
What's in your Leadership Talent Pipeline?

“High Potentials”, those talented young leaders in your organization, are those you must groom to ensure the future success of your company. According to a survey by the Center for Creative Leadership, over 50% of companies have a formal “high potential” leadership program. An additional 35% acknowledge an informal development process for up-and-coming leaders. Regardless of how your company develops promising leaders, there are steps executives can take to make certain your company has ample senior leadership candidates in the pipeline.

Here are three tips to help you make the most of your leadership development efforts.

Start the development process early. As with many business processes, the leadership development cycle has shortened. Gone are the days when aspiring leaders could progress through a series of extended front-line leadership assignments, gathering valuable experience over the course of many years. Experts indicate that the cycle time for developing executives has been cut in half, to about 15 years. This means that your current leadership should look to employees in their late 20s and early 30s to identify those with the talent to take on greater levels of responsibility.

Help them map their careers. One of the most effective ways to engage your high-potentials is also one of the easiest: sit down with them and have a conversation about their careers. The Center for Creative Leadership study found that the No. 1 answer to “What could your organization do to increase your engagement and commitment?” was “Provide career pathing and support.” Don’t assume that your high-achieving employees know exactly how to progress in their job growth — even though they’re talented, they still need coaching. And they also need to hear that their contributions matter.

Encourage high-potentials to coach their peers. Over 80% of employees described as “high-potential” leaders say they actively look for ways to identify and develop other high-potential employees. Companies can capitalize on this “leaders helping other leaders succeed” approach with a peer coaching model.

 Leadership development plays a critical role in helping an organization “Cross the Chasm” of leadership succession by filling that elusive leadership pipeline.

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