Systems have run down their stock of leadership talent over the last 15-20 years. The leadership development surge slowed down 15 years ago as other priorities came the fore. This has left us with a slow erosion of talent as people retired, sought alternative working arrangements, or, where we sometimes burnt people out or did not place them in roles that were a fit in skill or culture terms.  It has become harder to keep the depth of experience, knowledge, “smarts” and wisdom available to systems. There is a time lag whilst people are exposed to roles and often in the process they have to take steps that are really two rather than one.

Transitioning people through work experience, development, education is important because it is a staged process. It is how we test people. People are learning the ropes with trainer wheels on. They get thrown into jobs where they are under great pressure and whilst some survive and thrive in the furnace of leadership and organisational change others are sacrificed because they could not “cut the mustard”.

Is seems to me to be a tremendous waste of money and time when we could be preparing people for these roles in a more systematic and focused way. We need to stop talking about succession planning but do it. It would be novel to see a sustainable system that is in good working order.

What do you think out there? What do you think should be done? What was the best thing that helped you in developing your leadership skills?