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What Are The CEOs Of Tomorrow Doing Today?

Source | | Adrian Gostick

Some executive coaches work with C-suite leaders. Others have built practices advising bosses who might struggle with collaboration or communication. My work has mostly been with high-potential leaders, also called HiPos, who wish to develop their executive credibility and high-level leadership skills.

After twenty years of advising these potential CEOs, I’d like to pass along a few things I believe separate those who go on to get the big jobs from the rest of the pack.

As to their background, HiPos typically have been consistent, outstanding individual contributors—all while acting with high integrity. They were then asked to lead a team and again delivered strong results, this time as a manager. But now, they must make the leap to become leaders of leaders—and that’s a whole new skill set. At this level, they must cultivate an ability to multiply the energies of diverse teams toward new and uncharted opportunities. And since HiPos now have a larger group to manage, they have to transition to coaching skills to their direct reports, who then cascade these ideas down to their team members.

A study led by Professor Douglas Ready of M.I.T.’s Sloan School of Management shows 98 percent of large companies “purposefully identify high potentials. Especially when resources are constrained, companies do place disproportionate attention on developing the people they think will lead their organizations into the future,” Ready said.

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