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25 February 2016 Posted by 


Rethinking the management agenda

By Stephanie Christopher

LEADERS are change agents that play a transformational role in every organisation’s efforts to overcome market challenges and drive business forward towards innovation and growth.

Leadership succession planning is a critical talent management process that many organisations across Australia either ignore or get wrong.

Companies can no longer underestimate the importance of having a talent strategy that ensures a pipeline of capable candidates that would be ready to take on the leadership reins.

At The Executive Connection, we work with forward-thinking leaders who are adapting to the changing market conditions and investing and developing in their top talent across a variety of business functions from IT, to finance and marketing.

For organisations, preparing for the next generation of leaders can be a challenging but rewarding process; according to the EY Paradigm Shift only 54 per cent of high performers have a strong pipeline of future leadership talent.
As an organisation, if a key leadership position within your organisation opened up tomorrow, would you have a potential successor in the right place?

These are the top four strategies that will force leaders to rethink their approach to talent management for the next generation of leaders.

1.    Identify your top talent

Nurturing talent from within is an incredibly effective way to ensure potential leaders are aligned with the growth strategy and evolution of the organisation.

Not only does an internal talent strategy reduce the high cost and high risk of outside hiring, but it also ensures they have an acute understanding of the business; its challenges, opportunities, strengths and weaknesses.

Identifying employees who have the potential to perform in leadership roles will vary depending on the requirements of the business. However, some key areas to consider are their engagement with others, ability to achieve the work required, and attitude and approach to managing issues or a crisis effectively.

2.    Encourage collaboration

Organisations that have a culture in place for fostering an open and collaborative workplace often report higher levels of job satisfaction among employees. This environment allows the business to benefit from better creativity and increases the odds of achievement

Collaboration challenges individuals to articulate and distil what they are great at, their weaknesses and help them consider what they bring to the table. This transparency regarding strengths and weaknesses can inspire an individual to ask for help when necessary and be confident about how they can positively contribute to the growth of the business.

3.    Mentor the next generation

For businesses looking for potential leaders, mentoring increases retention of your best and brightest talent, speeds employee growth and shortens the learning cycle.

Mentoring taps into a pool of experience by providing a safe environment to learn and share ideas from those who have been there before. The opportunity for personal growth engenders loyalty and is an effective way to preserve the minds and capabilities of the key individuals who are potentially the future leaders of your business.  

4.    From succession plan to succession development

Traditionally, succession planning has been about having a replacement ready to take over the reigns as CEO however, that’s just part of it. True succession is about ensuring there is enough knowledge and understanding to keep a company moving forward.  

Nurturing a pipeline of leadership can often create a shared vision and spirit that spans all business functions. Having this succession of leaders in place readies your business not only for the unforeseen circumstances, but ensures the organisation keeps growing and keeps innovating.

Stephanie Christopher is Chief Executive Officer of The Executive Connection, which has more than 20,000 members globally and 1,200 members in Australia and New Zealand. For more information on The Executive Connection, or for advice on succession planning, contact Georgie Duckworth, Manager, Strategic Alliances, The Executive Connection on


Michael Walls
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