Developing A Leadership Pipeline

Perhaps it’s because succession planning has something of a morbid tone to it (and let’s face it, no king of the hill ever wants to completely let go of the helm) that so many companies fail to invest in a leadership pipeline that will enable the organisation to remain strong and adaptable in the future. Planning that far in advance can seem like a waste of time when we’re at the coal face, fighting off competitors and looking to chisel out whatever edge we can. However, developing a leadership pipeline is critical to the longevity of a company. Moreover, having a c-suite or board of directors chock full of septuagenarians can often create frustration among the younger executives who want to push for change but only ever get ‘push back’ from the board.

developing a leadership pipeline

The retirement of ageing boards should be in every organisation’s planning, because voids are difficult to fill in good time and difficult transition periods can be fatal. The need for a leadership pipeline then is not only prudent, it’s vital as it seeks to identify and nurture potential candidates some years ahead of an eventual appointment. In order to implement this successfully, these are the factors you need to consider:

Keep it simple

This isn’t quantum physics. Your first objective is to simply identify a broad number of potential leaders from across the company. This should be the remit of the senior leadership team (rather than any individual) who between them will have a good idea of who could rise to the top. It also negates the possibility that one person could make or break another’s career. Working as a team also greatly benefits the candidates on leadership assignments as they get broader and more varied input into their working methods and progress. The second task is creating a solid mobility programme. The 2015 Global Human Capital Trends report from Deloitte found that while 53 percent of younger workers want to take on leadership roles, only 6 percent of organisations have strong leadership programs in place.

You can never have enough feedback

One complaint we hear a lot from leaders is that they do not get enough feedback. Managers must make every effort to revert back to potential leaders, being both candid and supportive about their performance. This may require additional training for the managers themselves. Performance analytics is another extremely useful way to track employees and helps you provide more targeted feedback. Having this data on hand will make for better decision making when it comes to future appointments.

Make sure people know that you’re a company who values leadership growth

If you want to attract the leaders of the future, your company’s outgoing message must be one that promotes personal growth. LinkedIn’s “Why and How People Change Jobs” report found that 45 percent of the 10,536 people surveyed who changed companies between late 2014 and early 2015 say they left because they were concerned about a lack of advancement opportunities. Fifty-nine percent say they started a new job for a stronger career path and more opportunity. Hence, your organisation’s marketing strategy should be very clear about how it feels about fostering talent.

Culture is key

Having the right company culture is perhaps the most important element. All of your employees should feel confident about joining a development process. The more people that feel invested in a culture of development, the greater the chances are of finding competent leaders.

At ORESA, we not only specialise in finding the right people for the right businesses but we also have proven, time and again, our ability to successfully implement employee development plans for sustainable long-term growth. To ensure your business is effectively nurturing its leaders of the future, please get in touch for a confidential discussion. Phone +44 (0) 203 675 1459 or email Orlando Martins at orlando@oresa.co.uk.