The Leadership Pipeline: How to Build the Leadership Powered Company (J-B US non-Franchise Leadership) by Ram Charan, Stephen Drotter, James Noel
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Series: J-B US non-Franchise Leadership | Publication Date: January 11, 2011
An updated and revised version of the bestselling The Leadership Pipeline – the critical resource for how companies can grow leaders from the inside.
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.
Q&A with Co-Author Steve Drotter
What is the single thing that has changed the most in leadership since The Leadership Pipeline was first publish in 2000?
Since communication is such a central requirement for leaders, the changes in electronic communication have to be at the top of the list of impactful changes. Hand-held devices, social media and speed of access combine to bombard every employee--leader or individual contributors alike--with messaging. What is good about that is very good--instant availability of people and information. What is bad about that is very bad--everything is "urgent" and everyone is distracted. Leaders have lost control of the agenda in meetings, in offices and in peoples’ minds. A critical task for all leaders is to provide clarity of purpose and focus on the right outcomes. This has never been so important!
There are a lot of books on leadership, what sets The Leadership Pipeline apart?
The The Leadership Pipeline isn't theory. It is based on structured observation through over 1200 in depth executive assessments of very successful people--contenders for CEO, CFO, Group Executive and Business General Manager.
The Leadership Pipeline isn't about fads or the latest new thing. It based first on principles developed over 30 years.
The Leadership Pipeline isn't based on one industry or one culture. Work in 100 companies spread through 40 countries provided the base data.
It provides real differentiation between the layers of leadership so the company or business has a way to keep leaders from working on the wrong level and failing to produce all the required leadership results.
What is a common misconception about what a leader should or should not be working on?
There are two common misconceptions about what leaders should or shouldn't do. The first comes from the time horizon and the second comes from the uniqueness required of each layer.
The higher up a leadership position sits, the further out into the future the leader should focus. This time horizon difference starts very early in the leadership chain. An individual contributor should focus on the task at hand and its deadlines. Her boss, the first line manager, should focus on annual plans. Her boss, the manager of managers should focus on a two year time horizon. The time horizon extends for each layer above.
Each layer has a unique purpose that defines the contribution needed. Individual contributors deliver the product or service. Their boss, the first line manager, enables delivery by defining requirements, training, coaching, giving feedback, and rewarding. Their boss, the manager of managers, drives productivity by making sure the first line manager actually manages. The next layer up, function managers, deliver competitive advantage. The next layer, business managers, deliver short and long term profit.
Does this approach work for all companies, all sizes?
We have seen these concepts work with companies as small as 20 people and with global giants with several hundred thousand employees in 100 countries. The principles are exactly the same. Each layer has a unique purpose, each layer works in a different time horizon, and each layer must be differentiated from the layer below.
The leaders must provide clarity and focus no matter what the size of the company because the communication revolution affects and distracts everyone.
What are the central issues leaders must face in the next five to ten years?
The global financial crisis has resulted in pervasive uncertainty about markets, capital availability, solvency of customers and suppliers, investment strategies, etc. Competition will be fierce from developing countries. Leaders at every level will have to focus more sharply on performance than ever before. Waste, false steps, tolerance for mediocre performance or performers, bad investment decisions, out dated processes, lack of empowerment, and the like will lead more quickly to business failure. Leaders will have to provide real clarity of desired outcomes for every employee, differentiated by layer, and enable focus on obtaining those outcomes by everyone in order for their business to survive.
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