You Never Know When You Might Need To Replace A Leader, But You Can Be Ready When The Time Comes.

By Marty Fukuda

The obvious challenge for teams that depend on promoting from within is that they have to be good at developing leaders. Failure to do so means either promoting weak managers or being left with no choice but to hire from the outside.

All CEOs will tell you that part of their job is to guide the way for the next quarter century. With that in mind, any long-term strategy that doesn’t include a healthy investment in the next generation of leaders in the business is missing a key ingredient. Here are four keys to building a winning leadership development initiative.

1. Commit And Start.

There are two types of people: those who dive in head first and those who carefully plot and plan their course before taking a single step. When it comes to leadership development, the former is definitely the way to go. Your leadership development program will never be perfect in the timing, curriculum, format or selection process for eligibility.

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Your program won’t be flawless, but it doesn’t need to be. A great leadership development program accelerates your organization on so many levels beyond just the information taught. It creates excitement in your organization that promoting from within is not only a possibility but also the goal. In addition, you’ll be amazed at how these programs further spur the pursuit of leadership knowledge even outside the walls of your offices.

2. Make It Continuous And Consistent.

If getting started is the most important step, then establishing the frequency and rhythm of your program is a close second. An infrequent or random leadership course or seminar may be better than none, but it’s better when you allow a program to build momentum. Forgo the annual leadership retreat in favor of monthly (or even weekly) instruction.

Also, pass down your organization’s leadership philosophies. A reliance on outside instructors or guest speakers to coach your leaders is likely to produce inconsistent messaging. While the occasional well-vetted guest instructor can be a healthy change of pace, make sure your existing leadership team provides the foundational.


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