June 6, 2014

Cover Story

CXO of the Year

It takes a team to lead a company. Behind every successful CEO you&rsq...Read More

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Develop Your Next Executive Team

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Article

Develop Your Next Executive Team

Sarah Ryther Francom

June 6, 2014

So much goes into running a successful business, but perhaps nothing plays a more impactful role than the executive team making the do-or-die decisions. In this issue of Utah Business, we present our inaugural CXO of the Year awards program, which honors a selection of Utah’s top C-level executives who are integral to their companies’ success. Read how they do it beginning on page 70.

Finding the right executive talent to propel your company forward is not a task to take lightly—and it’s certainly not easy. Several studies have reported that executive management is one of the nation’s top workforce crises. According to Harvard Business Review, “Nearly 60 percent of companies are facing leadership talent shortages that are impeding their performance.”  

And according to the “2014 Succession Planning and Talent Development Survey,” conducted by the Rock Center for Corporate Governance at Stanford University and The Institute of Executive Development, “only 46 percent of respondents have a formal process for developing successor candidates for key executive positions.” The report also found that only 25 percent have an adequate pool of candidates ready to take over senior exec positions.

Whether due to retiring Boomers, poor succession planning or lack of internal leadership development, executive talent—which is crucial to business success—is becoming increasingly difficult to find.

 Leadership development should be a priority in all organizations, and not just during succession planning. While it’s important to have someone lined up to quickly take over a key role as a senior executive retires or exits the company, general leadership development and mentorship will ensure that your company is ready to grow the moment an opportunity arises. Investing in your employees also helps build morale, as they will see you value their current contributions and recognize their growth potential. Leadership development is a win-win arrangement.

Building an internal leadership pipeline starts with you. Begin by defining your expectations of what leadership means to you and your organization, and instruct other members throughout your company to do the same. Think about how you want your company to grow and map out specific leadership skills needed to get there. Take an active role in mentoring employees who demonstrate leadership potential, and hold yourself accountable throughout the process. Task senior staff to do the same. Look beyond people who remind you of you. Diversity in the workplace is key to dismantling groupthink and creating innovation. Most importantly, lead through your actions, not your words.

Today’s employees are tomorrow’s executive leaders, and too many are struggling to find a foothold in the current economy. By investing in and mentoring promising leaders throughout your organization, you will help ensure your company’s growth and success while also playing an invaluable role in someone’s professional life.

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