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  • Jonno White

3 Quick And Easy Ways To Build A Healthy Leadership Pipeline

Updated: Nov 17, 2022

"What's your main concern long-term for your organization?"

"...Our leadership pipeline."

I can't tell you how often this comes up. Leadership pipeline isn't important until it becomes all important and a lack of leadership pipeline can sink a successful organization or team quicker than nearly anything else.

I remember chatting with a leader recently who was on an executive team of a multi-national company in Europe.

We were discussing leadership pipeline and when I asked about their organization, what they said shocked me.

"Any of our executive team could step up to succeed our CEO down the track. But most of us will probably step into other CEO roles first."

I was surprised because I almost never hear this. They went on to explain how intentional their organization is about raising up leaders and investing in them so they can succeed.

As Richard Branson says,

"Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don't want to."

That quote is at the heart of a healthy leadership pipeline. But how exactly do you build a healthy leadership pipeline? Here are three quick and easy ways to start the journey for your team or organization.

1. Identify who could replace you

Bad news. If you're insecure about someone replacing you then you're limiting your impact as a leader.

Great leaders who leave legendary legacies don't lead like this. They do the opposite. They're always asking, "Who could replace me?" across everything they do.

When you ask this question, don't look just at skillset. Focus even more on who is humble, hungry and people smart (Pat Lencioni Ideal Team Player framework) and promote those people wherever possible even if they have some experience or skill gaps.

2. Have a vision conversation

A vision conversation is a specific, intentional conversation with an employee where you tell them what vision you see for their life.

We often assume everyone sees everything exactly how we see it. Not true. The number of times leaders don't have a vision conversation, assuming the person sees the same thing for themselves as they do for that person is staggering.

Try this out, I dare you!

Have a hallway conversation or book a coffee with one of your people and just speak over their life what you see them potentially doing. Don't overpromise anything, just share with them what you see.

This is incredibly meaningful for people and whenever leaders do this there's often tears in the other person's eyes because as human beings there's something significant about someone believing in you.