Pamela’s Blog for Conscious Leaders — an idea generator & reality checker for leaders

What does your leadership pipeline look like for the New Year? Every day for the next 18 years, 8,000 Americans will turn 65, beginning with today’s 47-year-olds. This inevitable “retirement gap” will create many open positions, challenging companies to find skilled workers who are in turn facing many choices to accelerate their careers. Developing a leadership pipeline now – by identifying high-potential candidates for critical positions – should be at the core of your hiring strategy.

Invest in your leadership pipeline strategy for a successful 2014 and beyond:

Plan for success before you fail. Growth, retirement, and attrition all have an impact on your company’s future. Implementing a leadership pipeline strategy will make the difference between a company’s ability to thrive or decline. Identifying top talent early will allow your company to remain competitive. Likewise, failure to forecast critical leadership gaps results in slow innovation, declining revenue and ultimately the loss of your competitive advantage.

Build or optimize your leadership pipeline this year. A solid leadership pipeline requires buy-in and support at the senior level to be successful. You will need to assess your future leaders’ competencies to perform new roles relative to what your company needs to do to be successful this year. Once potential leaders are identified for transition, you should begin their development plan immediately, with clearly set expectations and priorities, well before their promotion.

Filling critical positions with a thorough search process – To fill critical roles outside of your immediate network, a search firm is the best solution to build your pipeline. Hired early in the process, a search firm can help you to assess the possibilities of internal transitions and how best to create the new roles created by retirement, growth and attrition. A search timeframe must be realistic since each search is unique, and time-to-hire will vary based on the level of the position. Executive level and officer roles can be extremely challenging to fill because they have a greater impact on the company. Taking the time on the front end to create a clear description of the type of talent you need to bring your organization to the next level is one of the most important aspects of a successful search. Finding, attracting, retaining, and successfully on-boarding talented executives is the key to building a solid leadership pipeline strategy.

Guest Blogger Robin Toft is President and CEO of Sanford Rose Associates® – Toft Group, an award winning Life Sciences centered executive search firm. With offices in San Diego, San Francisco, Atlanta and Ft. Lauderdale, Sanford Rose Associates® – Toft Group is committed to “finding people who make a difference®” within organizations by identifying individuals who perform, exceed expectations, and assist the organization to achieve its strategic goals. Robin has been recognized by her peers as a finalist in the San Diego Business Journal’s Women Who Mean Business and the Most Admired CEO awards. In May of 2013, Sanford Rose Associates®-Toft Group was honored with the Athena San Diego Pinnacle Award for supporting women executives in life sciences. Robin is the author of The Personalized Medicine Insider and The New Executive’s Plan for a Successful First Quarter.

Pamela Stambaugh, seasoned advisor to executives and their teams, offers assessments (Harrison Assessments and others), coaching, and team facilitation addressing 3 P’s: Performance, Productivity and People.