“The key to sustained competitive advantage in any industry is not size, image, or technology. It’s talent, particularly at the leadership level. Your organization’s future depends on its ability to identify, retain, and prepare a dependable “bench” — its next generation of leaders – continuously.”
– Dr. Robert W. Barner

Dear Leaders,

Did you know that there were 76 million Americans born between 1946 and 1964? As more and more “baby boomers” retire or change jobs, is your organization prepared to lose their tenured, mature, and knowledgeable workforce? Are you?

The exodus of “baby boomers” has begun and plans are needed to maintain leadership bench strength. Think about your current talent pool. Are they prepared to replace those that are leaving?

Develop Future Leaders

In order to have continued success, you need to identify and develop future leaders.

The best way to begin the development process is by having regular discussions with each employee about their successes, strengths, needs, and aspirations. The Gallup Organization recommends a 3 step process:

  • Start with individual career planning development
  • Next is succession planning analysis
  • Last is group discussion and review

Ensure each employee has a written development plan and meet regularly (we suggest monthly) with each team member to review the progress against the plan. If you have identified an individual as a future member of your leadership team, verify they have the interest in that position.

Assuming you are aligned, assess the unique talents of that individual and update their development plan with actions that include maintaining their strengths and closing the gaps.  Next, begin to identify key positions and match the talents of suitable candidates with those positions and determine any further areas to be developed.

Is cross training required?

Would having a mentor help?

Could having a coach speed up the development process?

You may also want to delegate additional responsibilities.

Lastly, meet with your organization’s leadership team and review one another’s succession planning analyses.  Agree on business strategies, directions, and critical positions, and identify actual names for those positions.  The positions may not need to be filled now, but you will be building your bench strength and be positioned to act quickly should you find the need.

Leadership talent is one of the most critical needs of any organization. Development must be ongoing with progress occurring over time. As a leader, commit to employee development, become a mentor, provide ongoing and timely feedback, and consider engaging a coach to ensure the success (and survival) of your organization. Are you ready?