is the Leadership Pipeline? Description
Sometimes hiring an executive from the outside can be the only available
short term option. However Drotter, Noel and Charan argue that for
the long term, management should build, develop and maintain a pipeline of
skilled, prepared leaders from within the firm. Their Leadership Pipeline
model helps to create such a funnel of future management talent by explaining
what changes in time application, skills and work values are essential for
making the transition from one leadership stage to the next. Also their model
helps to understand the different demands of various management levels.
Origin of the Leadership Pipeline. History
The Leadership Pipeline idea was based on work originally done
at General Electric in the 1970s by Walt Mahler, a HR consultant and
teacher. Mahler set out to identify all the changes that were required to
be successful at different leadership levels. He concluded that the most important
change involved work values: what one believes is important in the new job.
Mahler also developed the Crossroads Model, suggesting that there were
specific leadership crossroads in every organization, each with its own specific
requirements. Drotter was a student and later a friend of Mahler and refined
and adjusted the crossroads model into the leadership pipeline model. Executive
Development and Coaching Consultant James Noel and Top-level Succession Planning
Consultant and Professor Ram Charan also contributed later.
6 Passages in the Leadership Pipeline. Stages
- From Managing Self to Managing Others. People enter this stage
when they demonstrate they are skilled individual contributors and they
have the ability to collaborate with others.
Change in Time Application: These people must learn how to
reallocate their time so that not only their own assigned work is completed,
but also they help others perform effectively.
Change of Skills: Shift from doing work to getting work done
Change of Work Values: From valuing their individual work
to valuing managerial work.
- From Managing Others to Managing Managers.
Change in Time Application: In this phase, managers must
only manage. They need to divest themselves of individual tasks.
Change of Skills: The key skills they must master during
this transition include selecting people to turn passage 1, assigning
managerial and leadership work to them, measuring their progress as managers,
and Coaching them.
Change of Work Values: Learn to hold first-line managers
accountable for managerial work rather than technical work.
- From Managing Managers to Functional Manager.
Change in Time Application: Participating in business-team
meetings and working with other functional managers. Creating a functional
strategy that enables them to do something better than the competition.
Develop a sustainable
within their function.
Change of Skills: Develop new Communication
Skills and being able to manage some areas that are unfamiliar. Learn
to consider other functional needs and concerns. Teamwork with other functional
managers and compete for resources based on business needs.
Change of Work Values: Adopt a broad, long-term perspective.
- From Functional Manager to Business Manager.
Change in Time Application: Allocating time to think is a
major requirement at this level: Managers need to stop doing something
every second of the day and reserve time to reflect and analyze.
Change of Skills: Business managers are responsible for the
bottom line. Rather than consider the feasibility of an activity, a business
manager must examine it from a short- and long-term profit perspective.
Change of Work Values: Value the success of their own business.
- From Business Manager to Group Manager.
Change in Time Application: From running their own business
to succeeding indirectly by managing and developing several businesses
and business managers.
Change of Skills: Be able to:
Evaluate strategy in order to allocate and deploy capital.
Develop business managers.
Develop and implement a
Assess whether businesses have the right core capabilities
Change of Work Values: Derive satisfaction from the success
of other people’s businesses. Appreciate managing a portfolio of business.
- From Group Manager to Enterprise Manager.
Change in Time Application: Set direction and develop operating
mechanisms to know and drive quarter-by-quarter performance that is in
tune with longer term strategy. A subtle shift from strategic to visionary
thinking, and from an operating to a global perspective. Let go of the
pieces, and focus on the Whole. Assemble
a team of high-achieving, ambitious direct reports, knowing that some
of them want his job.
Change of Skills: Ability to manage a long list of external
Change of Work Values: Learn to value
managing one entity.
Strengths of the Leadership Pipeline. Benefits
- Helps to understand that management and leadership roles are
not the same on all levels of an organization, because of many differences
in optimal time application, skills and work values.
- Dynamic model. Facilitates individual performance improvement,
Mentoring, training and experience
assessments and planning.
- Facilitates succession planning, leadership development.
Helps to identify and prevent potential pipeline failures.
- Improves selection processes.
- Facilitates more objective promotion decisions.
- Helps HR to focus on specific skills, time application and work values,
rather than rely on generalized training and development programs.
- Diagnostic tool to identify and remedy mismatches between individuals’
capabilities and their leadership level.
- Timing. The pipeline provides a system for identifying when someone
is ready to move to the next leadership level.
- Efficiency. Little or no time is wasted on jobs that merely duplicate
Limitations of the Leadership Pipeline. Disadvantages
- Aimed at large organizations. Can however be used in medium-sized businesses
as well, by removing the group management level and understanding that the
business manager is also doing the work of the enterprise manager.
- It takes a long time and sustained commitment to implement the framework.
- As with any model, try to avoid a too mechanical implementation of the
concept. Think holistically and with complexity of people and organizations
Book: Ram Charan, Stephen Drotter and James Noel - The Leadership
Pipeline - How to Build the Leadership-powered Company -
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Compare with the Leadership Pipeline: General Management |
| Cultural Dimensions |
| Contingency Theory
| 4 Dimensions
of Relational Work |
Spiral Dynamics |
Seven Habits |
| Johari Window
| EPIC ADVISERS
| Level 5 Leadership
| Hagberg Model
of Personal Power
| Interim Management
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