In business, leadership at every level is a requisite for company survival. Yet the leadership pipeline –the internal strategy to grow leaders – in many companies is dry or nonexistent. Drawing on their experiences at many Fortune 500 companies, the authors show how organizations can develop leadership at every level by identifying future leaders, assessing their corporate confidence, planning their development, and measuring their results.
New to this edition is 65 pages of new material to update the model, share new stories and add new advice based on the ten more years of experience. The authors have also added a "Frequently Asked Questions" section to the end of each chapter.
"These concepts have been tremendously influential in shaping my leadership approach and in building cohesive leadership teams at many levels."—Robert L. Nardelli, president and CEO, GE Power Systems
"People everywhere are talking about the war for talent. This book provides a framework for assessing and developing your own internal pipeline for leadership talent." —Norman C. Walker, head of human resources, Novartis International AG
At a time when more and more companies are relying on headhunters to bring in leaders and management turnover is soaring among young talent, "growing your own" leaders is about to become a necessary core competence for the future. While almost everyone who is interested in the subject has read glossy articles about what General Electric does at its Crotonville facility, this book provides the core of the broader management process behind those articles.
The first part of the book focuses on six key transitions that help a leader develop. The second part shows you how to diagnose how individual leaders are doing, and how to help them make better progress.
The six transitions are:
from managing yourself to managing others
from managing others to managing managers
from managing managers to functional managing
from functional managing to business managing
from business managing to group managing
from group managing to enterprise managing.
At each transition, what the individual values and focuses on has to change dramatically. In organizations where this transition is not made explicit, you get almost all of the managers in the organization "stuck" doing things the wrong way, still looking from the perspective of their last job. That's the stuff that Dilbert and the Peter Principle are made of.
Although the book takes a large organization's point of view, in various places the points are translated into a small organizational context.
Based on my experience with leaders at all these levels, I certainly agree with the authors' points about the key challenges involved. I also think that their diagnostic methods are good. In most cases, the root cause for the problem lies further up in the organization with someone who is not focusing or working on helping managers develop.
The key weakness of the book is that in some elements the reader with limited business experience will still not be sure what to do. For example, the step from a functional manager to a business manager requires integrating all of the functions and perspectives in order to be successful. That is an enormous leap in knowledge, expertise, and experience. Although business school cases will help those with that experience, most managers will find it impossible to make the transition unless the business is very undemanding -- something that seldom happens any more.
My own experience suggests that basic learning has to be pursued throughout the organization that emphasizes skills like problem solving, locating and implementing the next generation of best practices, and developing a deep understanding of how to create superior business processes as the foundation for this kind of leadership development program. In advanced companies, you can add the concept of having people develop skills for innovating new business models. Then, this leadership development process can become truly powerful.
However you decide to go about it, the examples of setbacks and progress outlined in this excellent book will improve your ability to think about improving leadership in your organization. I urge you to read, consider, and apply what you learn.
After you have finished thinking about and using the book, I suggest that you also think about where else in your company you do not have a management process to do something important. For example, do you have a management process to keep you aligned with powerful trends beyond your control? Do you have a management process to create superior business models?
Be all the leader you can be!