Success factors in developing next generation leaders

In their report “Filling the executive bench: how companies are growing future leaders”, RHR International has found that the most significant factors in successfully grooming leaders of the future are:

  • successful programs start with committed senior managers who drive the development of future leaders
  • development programs need not be highly structured and formal, but they should be aligned with the strategy and culture of the company
  • future leaders need diversity, stretch and the involvement of bosses
  • follow through on development plans is critical, both to ensure that the plans are executed and to assess the impact of the experiences

In my experience as a consultant to business and industry for over 12 years, there are no more important factors than these. This is why they form the cornerstone of my new “Budding Leaders Program” which runs over a 9 month period from the first “preparation” phase to the fourth and final “harvest” phase. This is because they are not only sound in terms of Adult Education principles but they create the right cultural environment, which is essential in creating behavioural change.

So how does your current development program compare? Can you honestly say that your program not only incorporates these aspects but that they are considered essential components rather than “nice to haves” that get pushed aside when operational matters take over?

This is not unlike the gardener who does not propagate plants in their greenhouse to replace those that will eventually finish their productive life. If you don’t invest in developing the next generation of leaders in a way that is sustainable and cost effective you will find yourself with gaps.


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