Effective leadership can be very elusive. True leaders are few and far in between. The world is rapidly changing and not enough organizations can keep up. Even more daunting is the lack of leaders ready to take the helm of departments and companies. In order to react quickly to change and remain viable, companies need to focus on growing leaders internally to lead the organization externally.
Management can’t rely solely on tools, technology, training programs, and set processes to groom leaders. More emphasis needs to be placed on rethinking existing tools so that people aren’t thrown into training programs then into a position they may not be ready for. There needs to be some energy behind approaches to readying leaders. Moreover, organizations have the responsibility to keep the energy and momentum moving. Existing leaders should make succession planning a priority with the goal of acting more quickly and with precision to grow leaders that can easily swing into positions to address the business needs and challenges.
Leaders Ready Now Accelerating Growth in a Faster World by Matthew J. Paese, Audrey B. Smith, and William C. Byham is a very effective tool for CEO’s and talent teams to include in an overall assessment and plan to not only ready leaders, but accelerate the leadership growth of key individuals.
Leaders Ready Now is geared more towards the executive suite and top talent management folks. There are nuggets that small business owners can glean particularly as an organization grows. This book is packed very full of detailed tools, strategies, graphs, and program examples. The appendix is rich with additional tools and suggestions for growing leaders more quickly so that they can transition into leadership positions with barely a ripple. With so many details and rich content, this book is really more of a text book for leadership and will require patient reading to note all of the gems buried in each chapter.
The authors provide valuable details about talent reviews, assessments and the need for growth learning and challenges. Business needs to not just provide leadership development but clear learning assignments supported by coaching and mentoring. Training and throwing people into leadership positions will only weaken the organization over time. We just can’t afford to manage leadership development like so many companies have for years. We need new approaches, more coaching and mentoring while a leader is learning. Success will demand an emphasis and commitment to accelerated growth in bringing on leaders ready to make a difference.
Leaders Ready Now offers 6 “Acceleration Imperatives” supported by key systems associated with each one peppered throughout 12 chapters. Each has an important role in assisting an organization in identifying, developing, and energizing future leaders for the long term. The principles are:
1. Commit: Adopt (leadership) acceleration as a business priority.
2. Aim: Define leadership success for your business context.
3. Identify: Make efficient, accurate decisions about whom to accelerate.
4. Assess: Accurately evaluate readiness gaps and give great feedback.
5. Grow: make the right development happen.
6. Sustain: Aggressively manufacture the energy for growth.
Each of these imperatives is detailed throughout the book. Concrete and detailed information, strategies, plans, and examples are shared to enable senior leadership to move forward in developing leaders that are not only ready to lead, but energized. My favorite aspect of Leaders Ready Now is the authors focus on not only energizing leadership but maintaining the energy long term. The key to growing great leaders is indeed energy. Lacking this, all the tools, processes, and plans will fall by the wayside and an organization will drift back into the “old” methods of preparing leaders to bring companies into the future to compete and grow.
If you have a hand in selecting, growing, and mentoring leaders in your business you will gain insight and an increased appetite for accelerating the growth of upcoming leaders in your business and coaching them to be ready by reading Leaders Ready Now. Again, this book is chocked full of detailed information in a text book type format and may be a bit heavy for the small business owner. Nonetheless, this book is a wealth of knowledge and will appeal to anyone who is passionate about leadership and growing people.