Building An Executive Pipeline: Grooming The Next-Gen Leaders

What could be more vital to a company’s long-term health than minting out future leaders? For one thing, while a company may have a long list of candidates who could step up at a moment’s notice, an alarmingly increasing number of leaders are ill-prepared to do the jobs of a key executive. Look at Microsoft’s Steve Balmer, longtime Bill Gates protégé and second in command for the top job, who made some serious damage to the company through poor handling of products and acquisitions once Gates left. Or, Mattel’s Jill Barad, who couldn’t give her insight into financial and strategic aspects of the job, in spite of having a winning track record in marketing.

next gen leaders

A newly-elected leader could be accomplished in at least one area of management, but when they haven’t mastered general competencies such as planning and executing acquisitions, public relations, et al. The problem is not newly-elected leaders failing to fill in the shoes of the departed. It’s lack of succession planning, which is too narrow and parochial to cover the skill gaps.

Grooming The Next-Gen Leaders

However, researchers show that several factors contribute to a leader’s success or failure. Certain companies succeed in developing a healthy talent roster. This is because, they combine two practices – succession planning and leadership development into the long-term process of minting out leaders across departments in their organizations. The two practices, when combined, separate functional silos, and share fundamental goal – getting the right skills in the right place.

A handful of companies are breaking down these silos to develop a successful succession management process. When setting up a succession management system that will build a steady, reliable pipeline of leadership talent, companies must look into the following:

Centralized Efforts

Top organizations unify their talent management. Top talent is owned by corporate not by a function, business or geology – the term is “corporate property.” This basic rationale has an enormous effect in the variety of experiences leaders have in top organizations since businesses, topographies and capacities can’t deny their best talent from moving across boundaries in order to optimize the organization.

Top Official Involvement

If you truly wanted to develop leaders, you have to include top leadership. Top companies for leaders live by the statute of finding and hiring top talent versus developing mediocre talent. If you hire incredibly talented people, you are significantly more inclined to find great leaders. Once you have the right talent in the entryway, you require a strong performance management system with a flawless feedback loop. Finally, you have to teach these individuals to a variety of development experiences that build knowledge, perspective and skills.

Strategic Focus

Top companies are never free enterprise about leadership improvement – they see the infusion and growth of talent as critical to key achievement and they are persistent in their way to deal with building talent. Their leadership development process is unified and purposeful about building up a progression of experiences that fabricate great functional leaders.


Priyansha Mistry
Currently editor at The HR Digest Magazine. She helps HR professionals identify issues with their talent management and employment law. | Priyansha tweets at @PriyanshaMistry

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