Leadership Shortage: Are You Prepared?

By on February 10, 2009
Leadership Shortage

The aging “baby boomer” generation is about to have its second great impact on the way business is done in this country, as they become positioned to create the greatest leadership shortage in the history of our economy. At least 50% of executives in the United States will be eligible for retirement in the next 5 years (Harvard Management Update, April 2007). Businesses have become aware of this impending crisis and are scrambling to respond to the anticipated need by creating accelerated leadership development programs.

“One of the most effective ways to prepare for this leadership shortage is to implement a Leadership Assessment Center,” states Lou Gerst, Business Practice Leader for Research; “I’ve been involved in the development of four leadership assessment programs in the last two months and, even in these difficult economic times, it seems that the most forward-looking organizations continue to invest in leadership.”

Leadership Assessment Centers first analyze an organization’s current and future leadership needs. Next, individuals complete a series of exercises designed to measure the skills that will most accurately predict success in the organization’s leadership positions. Role plays, leaderless group discussions, in-baskets and presentations are among the more commonly used exercises in an assessment center. Professional observers carefully watch participants work through the exercises and evaluate their performances against the predetermined criterion. The process results in a list of developmental strengths and opportunities which the participant can build and improve upon.

Filling the leadership void by selecting and placing the right person in the position isn’t enough. It takes time to build leadership skills and many of the lessons cannot be taught in the classroom. The systematic approach facilitated by an assessment center, allows you to take advantage of the leadership experiences the organization has to offer and match those experiences with the developmental needs of your top candidates.

Take a few moments to look at the demographic makeup of leadership in your organization and consider the impact the retiring “baby boomers” are likely to have on your executive bench strength. Think about the time and energy necessary to adequately prepare the next generation of leaders in your organization and consider the possibility of using a leadership assessment center to help you meet those needs.

About Shayna Howell

Shayna was the Client Development Manager in the Workforce Solutions Group of St Louis Community College. She has over 20 years of experience in the Community College system in training and development, project management, program/course development, grant writing/administration and marketing.

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