Thursday, March 22, 2012

Book Review-The Leadership Pipeline

A lot of the books I'll review in this blog aren't exactly "new".  This particular book is over 10 years old but stands the test of time.

The big day has finally arrived.  All your hard work has been recognized.  You are being promoted to the next level of management.  You call your spouse.  You make reservations at that favourite restaurant.  This is a cause for celebration.  Within a few weeks, you discover something isn’t right.  Many of the skills and techniques that worked in your last job don’t seem to be working anymore.  You keep pulling the levers that made you successful, those that got you promoted in the first place, and they don’t seem to be attached to anything anymore.   

This bewildering and slightly frightening scenario is not uncommon.  Most managers will admit to experiencing this at some point or multiple points in their career.  Ram Charan and his co-authors describe this common phenomenon and how great organizations deal with it in their book The Leadership Pipeline. 

The theory of the book is that there are what the authors refer to as six passages, or turns, in the leadership pipeline of all organizations.  The passages are from managing self to managing others, managing others to managing managers, from managing managers to functional manager, from functional manager to group manager and from group manager to enterprise manager.  Their hypothesis is that each of these passages represents “a shift in organizational positions- a different level and complexity of leadership- where a significant turn has to be made.” 

The book contains chapters on each passage and its unique characteristics, helpful hints to identify when someone is having difficulty making the passage, and coaching tips on remedies to keep the pipeline from getting clogged. 

Managers who discover themselves at one of the turns in the pipeline, leaders coaching others through a career transition and HR talent managers will all find this book extremely practical and helpful in the day to day practice of building leadership capability.     

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