The old mindset of how to identify future leaders has changed. Due to technology advancements, geographical influences, and financial and people demands, leadership requirements have evolved to a new level. As a result, many companies have waited too long. They now are having difficulty finding and developing the right leadership to handle today’s business challenges.
How are you identifying future leaders for your company? How are you developing them now?
First, Identify and Qualify Them
Competence. What is their current skill set compared to the skills required of future leaders? Are they able to effectively talk and work with anyone, anywhere, at any time? Can they execute plans and achieve intended results? Do they understand P&Ls? Are they up-to-date on successful marketing and sales programs?
Qualified Assessments. Use them. Start now. They help uncover what you don’t know about them as future leaders. This critical information can come back to haunt you if it is left hidden. Because of the high level accuracy, qualified assessments are invaluable in helping guide the development of future leaders in your company.
Be Responsible for Biases. Identify your own biases and those of the executive team. Set them aside when creating a succession plan and identifying future leaders in your company.
A business owner was having a hard time hiring the right person to take over running his company. He had failed several times. His bias was to hire people he liked who had the right title, the right credentials and came with the right connections. Unfortunately, relying on these biases as criteria to choose a leader did not translate into being able to effectively run and build a financially successful company.
Don’t Promote Too Soon. This is a company’s biggest unrealized expense, whether they know it or not. When managers promote someone who is not ready, lacks the resilience to handle challenges or conflicts, or does not have the interest in developing the skills to be a leader (regardless of what they tell you), they leave. Often, they take training skills and materials, clients and key contact lists, proprietary information and key employees with them when they go. Use incremental titles to help keep Millennials interested and happy in their jobs.
Second, Develop Them
Recognize Lone Rangers. Many leaders refuse to take advice. These DIYers will take the company and management team down with them rather than ask for help. Provide them board and management team training designed to teach them how to work with and through others, manage conflicting opinions and execute changes. If they are unwilling to participate, change your succession plan now.
Proper Preparation. Assign identified future leaders team projects and have them participate in trade association events and boards. Include them in high-level discussions and ask their opinions. This will help them understand there is more to leadership than having the title. They will either relish the opportunities or dread them. Do not assume they are ready to take on the next leadership role – some may need more time before they are promotable.
The Right Coaching. The laser-like ability to develop talent is a critical skill many current leaders, executives and business owners do not have. Provide key employees with an internal mentor and an external coach to help groom them as future leaders. Help establish specific attainable goals for each quarterly coaching program and check in to ensure they are on the right track as a future leader.
Delegate Projects. As you develop your future leaders, provide written expected outcomes, a budget and team members for the projects you delegate. Check on progress weekly and ensure situations, people and outcomes are not being overlooked. Remember, success is a process of working through issues — pay attention to their ability and willingness to stretch and meet the new level of accountability required as a future leader.
What If Future Leaders in Your Company Are Not Ready?
As you develop your future leaders, there may come a time when you need to bring in someone from the outside to build your future leaders and keep the company on track. Ask your network for recommendations. Have more than one conversation to ensure they can do the job and will achieve the results with the least amount of disruption. Ensure the new leader is able to develop a successful succession plan, work through family business or existing business plan challenges, and navigate internal company politics. Don’t forget to negotiate a win-win exit plan for them when the future leaders are ready.
©Jeannette Seibly, 2017
What are you waiting for? This is the last month of Q3! The question is, are you in action to accomplish your 2017 goals or have you already given up? If you are stuck, contact Jeannette Seibly. She will provide you the insight required for you to move forward powerfully!
Jeannette Seibly has been a business advisor and executive coach for over 24 years; along the way, she’s guided the creation of three millionaires. She is laser sharp at identifying the leverage points that will take a business and its team to the next level of performance and success. She also has extensive experience coaching leaders and developing future leaders for unprecedented results. Check out her website , or contact Jeannette for a free confidential conversation.