Cheif Learning Officer Solutions for Enterprise Productivity

Why Accelerating Leadership Development Is a Must

 -  8/28/13

Here are three efficient ways to accelerate leadership development to be prepared to replace an aging population of leaders.

The pace of baby boomers’ retirement has not been the expected mass exodus once predicted. Instead, it’s been more of a slow undercurrent. As a result, many organizations have been addressing succession management sporadically as an occasional topic on the agenda. And as today’s leaders turn into tomorrow’s retirees, many companies may find themselves unprepared.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of people aged 65 and older will double between 2010 and 2050. By 2020, 25 percent of the workforce will be older adults aged 55 and up, up from 13 percent in 2000.

How can organizations accelerate leaders’ development to prepare for succession?

1. Identify High-Potential Leaders More Rigorously

A key part of the succession management process is identifying high-potential leaders — though doing so can raise many challenging questions. How can leaders consistently determine potential?

A common practice is using a nine-box grid to position the probable high-potential leaders on a low, medium or high performance and potential axis. But to predict and rate leadership potential objectively and consistently, human resources professionals and leaders need to assess candidates against a standardized, reliable set of leadership potential factors.

Experience and extensive review of research about what determines future leader success led to six factors that, when measured and used effectively, streamline and improve the high-potential leadership assessment process:

1. Cognitive complexity and capacity.

2. Drive and achievement orientation.

3. Learning orientation: self and others.

4. Personal and business ethics.

5. Motivation to lead.

6. Social and emotional complexity and capacity.

2. Diagnose Before You Prescribe

Just as a physician evaluating a new patient performs a diagnostic exam before prescribing a course of treatment, you must assess high-potential leaders to identify strengths and development needs related to competencies, knowledge, experience and personality traits. Proper assessment should encompass behavioral analysis such as 360-degree surveys or simulations, validated personality traits inventories and tailored knowledge and an experience review interview or questionnaire. These four components of an assessment will generate a holistic view of the high-potential leaders’ strengths and development needs.


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