To Develop The Next Generation Of Leaders, Plan Ahead

Baby boomers are stepping into retirement in growing numbers. This means that companies are starting to lose institutional knowledge and experience, not to mention an entire section of leadership. While there is still time to get younger generations up to speed on leadership tasks, that training is not something that should be an afterthought.

Current leadership needs to identify potential leaders, then allow them to make decisions about important tasks, all while mentoring them through the headaches and challenges that boomers have been through. Preparing for a transition of power now means a smoother change of hands later, as well as far less vital information lost between the generations.

To help guide this process, members of Forbes Coaches Council have identified different methods companies can use to develop their next generation of leaders. Here’s what they said:

1. Don’t Wait To Start 

Many of my client companies report that up to 35% of their current workforce is eligible for retirement. It is imperative that companies look to the next generation for ways to merge technology, soft skills and the new ideas necessary to seamlessly keep the organization afloat and profitable. The best way to accomplish this is through inclusive leadership think-tanks, new idea sessions and training. – Kenneth JohnsonEast Coast Executives 

2. Develop A Buy-And-Build Strategy 

Evaluate your workforce plan, then develop a buy-and-build strategy. Determine where you need to buy talent in the short term and where you can build talent in the long-term. Leverage the new talent you buy to build a future pipeline in your organization. – Amy DouglasSpark Coaching, LLC

3. Train Senior Leaders How To Effectively Coach And Mentor 

Coaching and mentoring are the key to developing the next generation, but there is a gap between desire and knowledge. Most senior leaders want to create a succession plan that includes coaching and mentoring, but when they are honest, they don’t know how. So senior leaders, learn the skills: Hire a coach, take a class, read books and take ownership to learn these valuable skills. – Michelle BradenMSBCoach, LLC 

4. Encourage Collaboration 

Demonstrate the value of diversity. Think differently about how you build teams. Create a professional development program to educate new leaders and share organizational knowledge. Encourage cross-generational relationships with formal mentoring programs and skills-based volunteer opportunities. Retain mentors for growth insight and historical knowledge.  – Meredith Moore CrosbyLeverette Weekes 

5. Leverage The Success Of Mentoring 

Pair baby boomers who have the time and inclination with high potentials. Create program guidelines and train both mentors and mentees. Curate topics to focus their discussions and maximize their time together. Monitor program results. Mentoring is an essential tool for boomers to transfer their knowledge and leave a legacy. It also ensures that you have a strong leadership pipeline. – Loren MargolisTraining & Leadership Success LLC 

6. Cultivate Multi-Generational Training Programs 

Succession planning is important as the baby boomer generation continues to retire. Organizations looking to the future should cultivate multi-generational development programs. A development program can be a great way to bridge the leadership gap between the boomers and the younger generation. This will ensure boomers’ skill set and knowledge is transferred to millennials. – Dr. Corinthia PriceWorkforceCareerReadiness™ 

7. Use Sustainable Leadership Programs At All Tiers 

Organizations are getting really creative with developing sustainable leadership programs to engage employees at all levels. Dynamic programs offer training, coaching, and mentoring at each level of the organization to ensure continual upward mobility from a new hire to the C-suite. The use of self-assessment and 360-feedback tools provides baseline data to help employees continually improve. – Barbara OMalleyExec Advance LLC 

8. Identify And Develop Needed Skills And Competencies 

Create internally or find a reputable leadership development program that combines training and coaching to develop your next set of leaders. Determine the top skills and competencies needed to be developed in that cadre, and then send them through the training on those skills. Include an action-learning component where they have to implement some of the information back at their day job. – Monica ThakrarMTI 

9. Handle Your Succession Plan Execution With Respect 

Read more at Forbes
Photo by Viktor Krč on Unsplash

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