Leadership Pipeline

The leadership pipeline is used to create a more systematic, visible system of identifying candidates for succession, combined with the processes for their development.[1]

A leadership pipeline strengthens the leadership function of a company by cultivating emerging talent while enhancing organisational capability (Dilworth et al. 2011). Developing a leadership pipeline starts with identifying and then nurturing talent by exposing high-potential individuals to a variety of developmental opportunities and experiences. This leads to a more wide-ranging and holistic knowledge of the business and its inner workings. Put simply, this process is done to ensure that important leadership positions in the most prominent functions can be filled very easily by internal candidates.

Components of an Effective Leadership Pipeline[2]
There are many components of an effective leadership pipeline. Just as Northouse (2004) concluded that ‘there are almost as many different definitions of leadership as there are people who have tried to define it’ (p. 2), there are probably as many successful individual components of a leadership pipeline as there are companies trying to achieve one. However, in the interest of conciseness, there are not too many better examples that Yost & Plunkett’s (2009) 7 point plan:
1. Start with the business strategy. Leverage the business strategy by identifying developmental experiences that are critical to achieving it
2. Build a rigorous performance management system and use it. Separate performance and developmental, but ensure a heavy focus on both
3. Create a learning culture. Constantly ask the difficult questions of your organisation that enables growth and the development of new skills
4. Create a feedback-rich environment. Ensure constructive conversations that speak to current strengths and weaknesses, but also to one’s potential
5. Focus on transitions. Create opportunities for transition within your business, and that these are set up for success as opposed to letting people merely sink or swim
6. Build a principle-based organisation. Reinforce leadership as the living embodiment of your company values, at all levels of the organisation
7. Remember to focus on significance. Focus on the outcomes that will make the process sustainable

  1. Definition - What is a Leadership Pipeline Forbes
  2. What are the Components of an Effective Leadership Pipeline? Insights