Here’s the Surprising Differentiating Factor for Successfully Developing Your Leadership Pipeline

leadership pipelineIdentifying high potential leadership candidates is a problem for many executives tasked with filling their leadership pipeline. A study published by the University of North Carolina finds that 85 percent of global companies say that they have an urgent need for employees with leadership potential.


You may be contemplating your own company’s strategy for identifying, recruiting and training high potential leadership in your organization. While it is a serious concern for many companies, there are tools for addressing the problem.


What’s causing the lack of talent? Many companies like yours are still recovering from budget restrictions placed on training since the Recession, while others struggle to replace the talent they have lost as Baby Boomers are transitioning to retirement. Another hurdle for many companies is time. Training a mid-level manager for leadership takes an average of 20 months, while senior leaders can require an average of 40 months of training.


An alternative plan: mentoring. Many businesses, faced with the above challenges, are turning to mentoring as a way to keep their leadership pipeline active, but without losing any productivity. Through mentoring, high-potential talent is kept engaged in their work while they develop the skills and vision for a more senior position.


The same study by UNC notes that mentoring will significantly increase over the next three to five years. While less than half of companies are using this strategy now, you can expect to see up to 80 percent of companies mentoring by 2020 in an effort to fill their leadership pipeline.


Identify high potential talent: easier said than done. This, of course, is the hard part. One tool is to use professional behavioral assessment and skills assessment tools, which will allow your senior leaders to identify the traits that are most often demonstrated in effective leadership talent.


Until now, you may have been utilizing factors like education, experience and interview skills to make changes in leadership or address succession planning. However, the objective data received from behavioral assessment tools is more reliable. It provides valuable information about the tendencies, motivations and drives of the person you’re considering for leadership development in your company. Even better – behavioral assessments can help you see and maximize the talent you’ve already got in front of you, making the investment a great value.


Know the common traits for leadership, including one surprising and differentiating factor. The research by UNC indicates that leaders in the future may need different traits than those valued in the past. Individuals with strength in strategic thinking, a drive for results and the ability to engage in collaborative leadership will by the most sought-after candidates. However, a Gallup poll revealed that there is a single, most-common trait among the most successful business leaders. While education and experience certainly help, the common denominator among the super-successful was an acute self-awareness.


What would that look like in your organization? A person with acute self-awareness is an employee that knows their strengths and weaknesses well, and is motivated to improve without outside influence. They know what they need to get to the next level and they are on their way before you instruct them. Identify those on your team with self-awareness with professional resources like the Predictive Index System.


In summary, what’s the next best thing you can do for your company today? At PI Consulting Group, we understand the challenges you face in developing your leadership pipeline. The PI System provides all the insight to identify your high potential talent, but we also come alongside you to optimize your workforce. Call us today to set up an initial consultation.