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Creating a Leadership Pipeline: A Step-by-Step Approach

How are you developing the next generation of your leaders?

Group of employees working together

One of my favorite TV shows – and one of the best I’ve ever watched - is Succession. The four seasons focus on the lack of succession planning. There are at least eight people (including three offspring) who think they’re the one. But the wily old founder, Logan Roy, doesn’t believe anyone of them capable of taking over.

Succession planning is a vital process for companies looking to secure their long-term success. However, identifying and developing future leaders can be a challenging task.

The turnover of millions of supervisors and managers has only added to this difficulty.

While many organizations have an informal process for identifying future leaders, it’s often flawed. Merely promoting the hardest worker or the CEO's child doesn’t guarantee leadership success.

To develop a pipeline of future leaders, companies must follow several steps:

  1. The CEO must actively buy into the development of leaders. Leadership development fails if the CEO isn’t the lead cheerleader.

  2. Specific individuals for future leadership positions must be identified, and a broader vision of their career must be planned.

  3. Those high potential employees must be identified based on tangible and intangible skills, both current and future needs.

  4. Create a leadership development program, incorporating ongoing classroom training, rotating through different departments, assessments, mentoring programs, and leadership coaching.

The best leaders have a core set of values that align with the mission of their organization. They must be great communicators, possess emotional intelligence, integrity, and agility.

By identifying employees with these attributes and providing them with a focused, intentional leadership development program, companies can ensure their long-term health.

Companies that fail to develop their future leaders risk lower morale and higher costs associated with replacing senior leadership positions externally.

The identification and development of future executives needs to be a priority for all companies looking to secure their future success.

Just look at Waystar Royco for a way to not do it well. Or, in real life, In-N-Out Burger.



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