7 ways to create a winning leadership pipeline

Be prepared.

It’s a saying that most of us associate with Girl Scouts or Boy Scouts. 

It’s good advice when you are kid. But it is critical advice if you are managing a team as an adult. 

In today’s increasingly mobile labor environment, staff turnover at every level is a challenge. 7 ways to create a winning leadership pipeline So, every organization has to make the effort to stack their leadership pipeline, or risk being left flat-footed when a leader or leadership candidate leaves. 

When organizations are not prepared – they often find themselves scrambling to fill the positions with whoever is available.

And if the pool of candidates isn’t deep enough – the choice can be middling or worse. 

That’s why leadership talent readiness is more important than ever. 

All too often companies wait to identify and develop emerging leaders from mid-level positions, missing early development opportunities to strengthen the pipeline.

This means that they don’t have established emerging leader talent management practices in place to ‘stack the deck‘ for a proper leadership pipeline.

The lack of solid emerging leader talent management practices not only leaves gaps in the leadership pipeline, but also puts the company’s long-term competitiveness at risk.

To have even a chance at a winning leadership team, your pipeline practices must start early.

You can’t join a 100-meter race in the middle, expect to get up to speed as quickly as the other runners, and win. Preparing your leadership for success means starting the process at the starting line. 7 ways to create a winning leadership pipeline.

Following are seven important early stage leadership pipeline practices that could have a significant impact in effectively fueling the future bench strength you’re working so hard to build:

  1. Define the early-stage behaviors of the leadership competencies and skills your organization has identified for success.
  2. Use both a qualitative assessment around these competencies and a results-based approach to evaluate and select potential talent.
  3. Onboard emerging talent into a development process at junior level positions.
  4. Set clear expectations for their engagement and success in this emerging leadership development process.
  5. Make sure your talent development includes continued emphasis on and support to strengthen their foundation for success: Expertise, Experiences and Execution.
  6. Provide opportunities for the development and application of identified leadership competencies and skills.
  7. Introduce them to and support them in applying the career accelerators: Reputation, Reach, and Relationships.

Late-stage leadership preparation is like trying to bring in a promising new quarterback near the end of the season.

It’s tough to win the super bowl by then.

Start early and stay at it with your emerging leader practices to build the talent your company needs to succeed.


She’s a woman on a mission, prepped and ready to help you create resilient leaders and a workplace that is poised to succeed. Having weathered her fair share of corporate and career crises of all sizes, Vivian Blade MBA, MBB, PMP, is a global leadership expert and thought leader who equips leaders with the resilience that inspires teams to recover quickly in the face of ongoing disruption and thrive in spite of insurmountable odds.

Vivian empowers leaders and organizations as a frequent keynote speaker for association conferences and in delivering transformative leadership development programs, executive coaching and consulting for corporations.

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