Taking business to the next level relies strongly on talent.
“…While financial results, market share, brand and legacy products all have a half-shelf-life, talent is the only competency that endures.” -Ram Charan, noted author and advisor to companies around the world).
Built around common passages that all leaders go through, from individual contributor to running entire businesses, “The Leadership Pipeline” (now in its second edition) is Charan’s primer that introduced us to an important internal architecture for developing and nurturing leaders.
Yet when we look at how well prepared organizations are, only 15 percent of executives are confident in their leadership pipelines. In addition, a systematic focus on defining the knowledge, skills and related development required by leaders as they move from one level to the next is often nonexistent.
Gen Xers and Gen Yers have high expectations for career development, very different than the expectations of Baby Boomers. “Millennials require exponentially more advice and forward-thinking direction on a consistent basis,” according to Louis Carter, founder and chief executive officer of Best Practices Research. To keep you best talent, accelerate their development.
Companies often express a concern that these high-potential programs could adversely impact turnover because acceleration would not be fast enough. However, Becton Dickenson found turnover among participants was lower than among non-participants, and BD credits the program’s success to all development being aligned with the real work of the business. In addition, if you don’t develop them, they will leave, so develop your leaders.
A high level of performance and bottom-line results is a given for our future leaders, but performance is not the sole driver of leadership potential. Given the VUCA* culture we have today (which is only likely to accelerate), each organization needs to create a roadmap for leadership pipeline competencies that reflects what success will look like in 10, 15 and 20 years for its talent, geographies and industry – no easy task.
*Definition of VUCA:
Here are some important qualities to consider as a part of that criteria:
Tailoring the development focus for each passage that a leader goes through, from first-level management through more-senior roles aligned with the expectations of what those levels mean, what challenges the person will face; these passages present a great architecture to plan the development roadmap. With a combination of self-development (webinars, eLearning), workshops, peer coaching, mentors/career advisors and the all-important on-the-job activities, development plans can be rich in learning for each passage and help organizations grow and retain top talent.
If you are interested in reading more on developing leaders within your company see our post on building your leadership bench with mentoring, and for more on developing future leaders read our ebook “Future Leadership Development” for our take on developing leaders prepared for the digital age.