The long-term success of a business depends on its leaders. Many companies have good current leadership, but do not spend enough resources preparing future leaders to step into new roles. It’s easy to forget about the future when your organization is busy managing day-to-day operations, and having a solid leadership pipeline will help you better navigate transitions and keep everything running smoothly when changes do happen.
How Primed is Your Leadership Pipeline?
This short quiz can help you assess how prepared your organization is to cultivate leaders from within.1. If a key executive disappeared tomorrow, how would you respond?
a) We would be fine, she has been mentoring somebody for over a year and they are ready to step up.
b) It would slow us down for a couple months while her replacement got up to speed, but we could recover from it.
c) We would scramble to put a plan in place and hope for the best.
2. Do you have a leadership development program in place?
a) Yes. We consult with an outside expert and have regular training sessions to build leadership skills.
b) Sort of. We do corporate training at company meetings and that includes some leadership development.
c) Not at all. We figure the natural leaders will step up when necessary.
3. If you do have a leadership development program, is it available to everybody in the organization?
a) Yes. We know that leaders can emerge from any level and we want to give everybody the opportunity to grow into a leadership role.
b) No. We ask individuals to apply for consideration and we select from that pool. We assume that only the people who want to be leaders should participate in the program.
c) We don’t have a leadership development program.
4. Are your current leaders involved in nurturing potential leaders?
a) Yes. Our coaching and mentoring program is a requirement for all leaders in the company.
b) Yes. We have an informal process for current leaders to mentor individuals with leadership potential, but not everybody participates.
c) No. Our executive team doesn’t have time for that.
5. Is leadership training available to individuals who have no direct reports?
a) Yes. We understand that in order to successfully lead others, an individual must have personal leadership skills.
b) No. We only invest leadership training resources into individuals who are already managing other people.
c) We don’t offer leadership training at all.
Analyze Your Results
If you answered mostly A, your company probably has a solid leadership pipeline. That doesn’t mean you can stop doing what you’re doing. Maintaining a leadership pipeline takes ongoing effort. Keep up the good work!
Your commitment to building leadership internally is a practice that you can highlight when recruiting new talent. Demonstrating that you are willing to invest in the personal growth and career paths of individuals within the company gives you an edge over the competition. You can also continue to improve by asking for employee feedback and finding out what types of training individuals would like to see.
If you answered mostly B, you probably have some work to do to create a ready-now leadership pipeline. You’re almost there, but your organization could benefit from a more formal leadership development program and regular ongoing training to build and maintain skills.
Next steps for you might include taking the time to develop a long-term leadership development strategy that includes a timeline with milestones. This strategy should also include tactics for measuring progress along the way so you can create benchmarks for success.
If you answered mostly C, your organization would suffer from a sudden loss in leadership because you don’t have individuals who are ready to step into those roles and fill the gap. Consider the potential consequences: lost revenue, internal turmoil, and loss of confidence in the company. It’s worth the investment in future leaders to ensure that your organization can continue to operate smoothly in the long term. If you give individuals the opportunity to grow and guide them along the journey of leadership, your company will always have leaders in the pipeline who embody the company culture, understand the organization, and have the necessary skills to nurture the next wave of leaders.
You might have a long way to go before you have a ready-now leadership pipeline, but you can view your current situation as an opportunity to start with a clean slate. If you don’t have any individuals in the company who have experience with creating and implementing a leadership development program, it’s a good idea to work with an outside expert who can help you create a solid strategy and recommend which types of training programs to start with. Once you have a plan in place, you just have to stay on track with regular communication, scheduled training sessions, and measurement protocols for tracking your progress.