In any organization or sports team, any sustainable success will always come down to their bench strength. We’ve seen it in basketball games where the second teamers would come off the bench and pull ahead in the score by outperforming the bench of the opposing team. We’ve seen it in football games when a first stringer would get injured and his back up would come off the bench and perform successfully.
Bench strength in an organization is defined by the competence and number of employees who are ready to fill vacant leadership and any other important positions. For any organization to thrive, they must have solid bench strength.
How do we create this bench strength?
First, you must always transfer the knowledge and experience from the top. This aids in the education and development of future leaders. In any successful sporting organization, is almost always lead by a great coach who is a great communicator and motivator. He not only has the ability to build people up, however, he does this all while holding them to a high standard of accountability.
To build great bench strength you must build solid relationships across the generations. These filtered down skills, talents, and values of this diverse group will strengthen the overall leadership.
Develop succession plans. Don’t wait until the need for a leader is obvious! Identify and nurture high-potential members of the team. This group can be the first to leave if they are not properly recognized and developed.
Provide cross-departmental learning and exposure. This will develop a much better understanding of the overall organizational systems.
Offer executive coaching. Having an outsider perspective who specializes in this process can be very beneficial to upcoming leaders in succession planning. This will also provide a mastermind type strategic thinking process that will be very helpful early in the young talents career path.
Consistently assess this talent and provide mentoring support for new managers. This will help to acclimate them to their new roles. Constantly give your new leaders insights to help them increase their effectiveness.
Always keep an open dialogue. What leadership skills are crucial to the company’s success? What is the most important philosophy about your companies culture of leadership? What type of individual fulfills this culture of leadership? How are they willing to step up to fulfill this culture?
One final ingredient in succession planning will likely be influenced by work/life concerns. Organizations will need to find ways to help high-potentials balance their work and personal life responsibilities. Organizations must understand the impact that generational influences have on employees’ views of career development.
Be sure to recognize, develop, support, and train your organization’s young talent and with the proper bench strength you will surely have your winning team.