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The Leadership Pipeline

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The Leadership Pipeline

How to Build the Leadership-Powered Company


15 min read
10 take-aways
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What's inside?

If your organization wants future leaders in place, you’d better start the pipeline flowing now.

Editorial Rating



Organizations need leaders, but natural leaders are at least as rare as natural athletes. And, even natural athletes need careful training and development - given that almost everyone is capable of developing some degree of athletic potential. Similarly, the right training and development program can help almost anyone cultivate some degree of leadership potential. In fact, it can help a few people develop extraordinary leadership abilities. Ignoring leadership development is foolish, but at many companies, short-term priorities eclipse the long-term thinking needed to develop a good leadership pipeline. This book’s plain, sensible approach is simple without being simplistic. It is generally lucid and clear, and - somewhat to getAbstract’s surprise - it does not suffer from having three authors. If you are a leader or need to develop leaders for large corporations, this is a very useful volume.


Rites of Passage

Six passages mark every leader’s career.

Managing other workers

After being in charge of only your own work, this is the first step to becoming a manager. In some ways, it is the most demanding passage. People who are doing a difficult job well do not usually want to change. They are often unwilling to put ’their’ work in the hands of others, and simply manage those other people. Therefore, these new managers may have the title of manager without exemplifying management behavior. A manager’s work includes planning, matching people to jobs, giving assignments, cheerleading, encouraging, helping and evaluating. Many new managers want to continue to spend time doing their old jobs. They must learn to re-allocate their time.

Managing other managers

This transition requires developing new ways of communicating. Communications with workers now pass through other managers.

Managing a function

When a person moves into functional management, he or she will manage some work that is unfamiliar and will report to multifunctional managers. This passage requires unaccustomed breadth of focus.

Managing a business


About the Authors

Ram Charan is an independent consultant and leadership coach whom BusinessWeek named one of the top-ten resources for in-house programs in the U.S. He is co-author of Boards at Work and Every Business is a Growth Business. Stephen Drotter, author of The Succession Planning Handbook for the CEO, helped design General Electric’s succession planning process. James Noel is an executive coach in New York City, and co-author of Action Learning: How the World’s Top Companies Are Re-Creating Their Leaders and Themselves.

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    c. f. 6 years ago
    Good functional summary. I listened to the entire book on audible. I needed to have a reference document to start applying to my own career. This is super helpful in this context.