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The Leadership Pipeline: How to Build the Leadership Powered Company Hardcover – November 1, 2000

4.2 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

For every organization that's ever reached beyond its own borders for top leadership only to have those high-profile, high-salary top leaders bungle and exit as abruptly as they appeared, this smart, substantive, and clear-eyed book is a godsend.

Written by three genuine experts in management development (one of them helped design GE's deservedly famous succession-development process), The Leadership Pipeline: How to Build the Leadership Powered Company finally shows organizations how to undo the knots and clogs in their in-house "leadership pipeline" so they can constantly groom the best people at every level to move up to the next rung of leadership. Not only do the authors identify the six transition phases, or "turns," of the pipeline--from self-manager (individual worker), first-line manager, and managers' manager to function manager, business manager, group manager and enterprise manager (the last essentially being a CEO)--they describe each with remarkable insight; these six levels of leadership growth, for example, exist at the base of every midsize or large organization regardless of how each structures its individual hierarchy. With each, they take care to point out both the new skills and values (there is a difference) one must acquire before making a turn, as well as how to measure whether someone has them before moving them along. They also show how to determine whether candidates are embodying those skills and values once they've made the transition, and how to groom them for the next level right from day one.

The result? Not just one potentially qualified in-house candidate for a top leadership position (the kind of dearth that forces companies to look outward for expensive and often short-lived leadership "stars"), but a whole generation of them, not to mention younger generations to succeed them.

The book includes sample scenarios (from both fictional and real-life organizations), definitions, checklists and charts that break down and illustrate its main points in every chapter. Though shrewd and straightforward on every page, The Leadership Pipeline isn't for anyone looking an easy, step-by-step, worksheet-guided quick fix to management development and succession planning. The authors stress that it takes some hard thinking for companies to determine what they really need from leaders at each level (and to figure out which individuals have the potential and desire to scale those levels). It requires serious homework to translate this book's excellent guidance into a plan for your own organization's pipeline.

That's a small price to pay, however, for a book with such uncommonly clear insight into what it takes to nurture and navigate the best leadership from right inside your own house. --Timothy Murphy

From Booklist

One of management's biggest challenges is finding new leaders, and one of the questions that arises in this quest is whether to bring in "new blood" and fresh ideas or take advantage of "home-grown" experts already acclimated to an organization's corporate culture. The current labor shortage and a greater willingness by younger workers to change jobs have only added to this challenge. Recent books such as High Flyers: Developing the Next Generation of Leaders (1998) and Hidden Value: How Great Companies Achieve Extraordinary Results with Ordinary People [BKL Ag 00] have weighed in on the side of "growing your own," and now Charan and his coauthors add their support. Charan is a "leadership coach" and has written extensively for academic and popular business journals. He and two fellow consultants describe the natural hierarchy of work that exists in most organizations, which takes the form of six career passages that the authors call the "leadership pipeline." For leaders to progress, they must be working within each passage at a level appropriate to their skills, values, and use of time. David Rouse
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Series: J-B US non-Franchise Leadership (Book 23)
  • Hardcover: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1 edition (November 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0787951722
  • ISBN-13: 978-0787951726
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #947,152 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on December 23, 2000
Format: Hardcover
What do General Electric, Citigroup, and Marriott International have in common? They have built on the original conceptual work by Walt Mahler at General Electric to establish sustainable methods to developing management breadth and depth. This valuable book outlines the key principles of that current best practice.
At a time when more and more companies are relying on headhunters to bring in leaders and management turnover is soaring among young talent, "growing your own" leaders is about to become a necessary core competence for the future. While almost everyone who is interested in the subject has read glossy articles about what General Electric does at its Crotonville facility, this book provides the core of the broader management process behind those articles.
The first part of the book focuses on six key transitions that help a leader develop. The second part shows you how to diagnose how individual leaders are doing, and how to help them make better progress.
The six transitions are:
from managing yourself to managing others
from managing others to managing managers
from managing managers to functional managing
from functional managing to business managing
from business managing to group managing
from group managing to enterprise managing.
At each transition, what the individual values and focuses on has to change dramatically. In organizations where this transition is not made explicit, you get almost all of the managers in the organization "stuck" doing things the wrong way, still looking from the perspective of their last job. That's the stuff that Dilbert and the Peter Principle are made of.
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Format: Hardcover
This book gives you a thoughtful and reasoned look at the upward transitions process. It does an excellent job of outlining the needs and potential problems at each career stage. The advice is usable by three groups of potential readers.

You should buy this book if you are a senior manager, human resources executive, or board member in a company of any size who wants to understand the dynamics of leadership development/succession planning in a large company. The book outlines several transitions and the changes in skills and attitudes that are needed at each one, along with relevant pitfalls.

You should buy this book if you are a manager on an upward career trajectory and you want to learn what's ahead and what skills and attitudes you need to develop as well as what possible problems lie in wait. The chapter that describes your next transition will outline what you will have to do and what you will have to do better.

You should buy this book if you supervise other managers and you want some insight into analyzing performance issues and helping your people develop.

What are the negatives?

This book is written for people in big companies. With the exception of a couple of pages early in the book, managers in small to mid-sized businesses will need to figure out how this applies to them. This is not a big issue because of the range of material covered and the clarity of the presentation, but it still will be irritating to some readers.

The big company whose shadow falls across this book is General Electric. That's not a bad thing in itself. GE does a marvelous job of leadership development.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Reading this 'leadership pipeline' I became really astonished of seeing here all the ideas of Elliott Jaques and Gillian Stamp (Bioss International) just copied with no reference to them. I keep wondering how can that be done. Jaques and Gillian Stamp has written for so many years about human capability and seven levels of work complexity that are clearly repeated in this book withouth no comment to them. Even the general themes are there, for example managing other, leader of leader, managing a business unit, managing a group of business unit. If you don't beleive me, just read Requisite Organization (Jaques) and previous ones, for example, and you will learn that Jaques' ideas are being developed for more than 30 years. So, better learn with the real creative people that has really done researches around the theme.
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Format: Hardcover
In my reading of the "Leadership Pipeline," I found it to be a fascinating look at all levels of management, albeit a somewhat unconfirmable one. The purpose of the book seems to be to outline, then advocate what it calls "The Leadership Pipeline." Think of it like a long drainage pipe system, with six intersections symbolizing six transitions in management (each of which can run smoothly or become clogged based on managers values and behavioral traits), all the way from entry level employee to CEO. The book takes the approach that every entry level employee, if they possessed the drive and willingness to change can become the CEO of any company they choose. In fact, the book so strongly advocates this position that it maintains that this is the best way to create the ultimate CEO from the very first pages.

It is this belief that I found to be somewhat irritating as I read through the book. The notion that an entry level worker based in sales with no degree could become a more qualified CEO than their more educated counterparts was a little hard for me to swallow. The Leadership Pipeline does not actually advocate replacing more educated workers with less educated ones, but it does continuously profess that the best way to groom a leader at any leadership level is to ensure that they have gained the experience necessary by following all of the steps of the leadership pipeline model which have come before it, and all of those steps should be taken within the same company. It seems almost as concerned with advocating the implementation of its own design as it does offering constructive criticism to better the current system of business management. The book also fails to take into account what happens to the worker who gets laid off due to corporate takeovers, mergers, etc.
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