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THE LEADERSHIP PIPELINE

THE LEADERSHIP PIPELINE

Developing a leader-powered business

Performance is inseparable from a company’s approach to leadership development. Developed by Ram Charan, Stephen Drotter and James Noel, the Leadership Pipeline is a company-wide framework for developing future managers and leaders.

Overview

The Leadership Pipeline is a continual process that ensures a throughput of talented leaders. It is a practical, easily understood system that clearly explains what is required to work successfully at each leadership level, helping:

·            individuals and companies to understand what is required for excellence at each level

·            individuals to develop their skills, optimize potential and progress their careers

·            organizations to manage and develop talent, and to build strategic an organizational capabilities.

How it works

The Leadership Pipeline represents the flow of internal talent into business-critical roles. As such, organizational structures, processes and reward mechanisms are geared towards encouraging preferred behaviours. For the individual, the Pipeline clarifies the development path that will build the leadership capabilities required to operate successfully at higher levels. At each stage:

·         people need to be clear about the capabilities needed for each level

·         managers and leaders should use the skills and values that are expected at each level so that others can operate effectively.

Traditional approaches to leadership development tend to simply strengthen existing skills, and inadequate attention is paid to learning new ones. The Leadership Pipeline formally recognizes that change and improved performance occur best when the skills that are needed for the next level are built on a solid foundation at previous levels and when individuals are given the time and correct support and training to learn the skills, time management and values required for the new role.

This clear framework makes it easy for people to see what capabilities and values are needed for successful career progression and it focuses people on the skills the organization needs – thus improving both current and future performance.

Working towards successful transitions

Typically, career progression involves making successful transitions at six key stages:

1.          From managing yourself to managing others

2.          From managing others to managing managers

3.          From managing managers to functional director

4.          From functional director to business director

5.          From business director to group business director

6.          From group business director to company director.

In reality, people often make these transitions with little support and inad-equate preparation, commonly modelling themselves on their predecessors and learning what works through trial and error. The Leadership Pipeline makes explicit what is required for success at each level. In particular, it clarifies the requirements in three key areas:

1.          Developing new skills

2.          Improving time management

3.          Adopting the values the organization is looking for.

Acquiring these capabilities at each level builds the foundation for success at the next level. Consequently, this focus on skills, time management and values prioritizes improved performance for advancement – benefiting both the individual and the company.