Executive Development and Succession Planning
There is actually a good deal known about how to select leaders. There are now
well over 7,000 books, articles, and presentations on leadership, and some
reasonable consensus has emerged about the key issues related to the topic. First, a
Persuading others to transcend their personal concerns and to pursue a
collective goal that is meaningful for a group and that will further their
collective welfare; it is persuasion, not domination; it involves creating
cohesive and mission-oriented teams; and effective leadership has a direct
causal relationship to team performance.
Research strongly points to the following set of predictors as the most reliable and
valid indicators of leadership potential:
• Effective predictor 1:
Actual performance of the candidate’s team or organizational unit.
Therefore, evaluate real-time performance data.
• Effective predictor 2:
Peer, supervisor, and subordinate feedback on the candidate’s effectiveness has
high predictive validity. For example, it’s been demonstrated that subordinate
ratings are as effective as (and much less expensive than) assessment center data
in predicting managerial performance seven years later.
Therefore, use 360° instruments as a key component of the assessment
• Effective predictor 3:
The presence of derailment factors in the candidate’s profile. Therefore, look
for tendencies to over control, exploit, micro-manage, resist using appropriate
consequences, or to be arrogant, political, egotistical, irritable, passive-
aggressive, vindictive, abrasive, insensitive, or aloof. All are proven correlates
of managerial careers that flounder, stall, or derail.
• Effective predictor 4:
Cognitive ability and four specific personality characteristics account for most
of the variance in leadership effectiveness. Therefore, measure the following
“Brainpower has never
before been so
important for business.