Ebook Review: The Great Leadership Development & Succession Planning Kit

It’s a common fact that organizations often promote employees to leadership positions based on their technical skills—rather than their people skills. This approach creates problems because the soft skills a leader needs to inspire others to work with her are different from the skills that makes her such an effective CFO (for example). Promoting employees to leadership based on their technical skills alone is a flawed promotion strategy.  This strategy incurs real turnover and lost productivity costs to organizations. Sometimes a poorly equipped leader causes so much damage to an organization that they have to leave their position. It’s easy to blame the failed leader: he or she was obviously not up to the job. Right?

In reality, senior leadership and the HR Department are more properly to blame. Organizations need to develop effective leadership development and succession planning programs to help their promoted employees succeed as leaders. For many organizations, this is an impossible task as they have no idea how to develop these programs. Fortunately, a new ebook by Dan McCarthy of Great Leadership provides needed help in this area.

Dan shared a copy of his ebook with me, The Great Leadership Development & Succession Planning Kit, and asked if I would review it for him. Having led corporate leadership development functions at Paychex, Inc., Eastman Kodak Company, and Rochester Gas & Electric Corporation, Dan speaks with the authority that one gets from actually having done the work himself. He provides a useful road map on what organizations can do to develop their own effective leadership development and succession planning programs.

Readers of my blog and participants in my leadership seminars know my early management story and how I had to take responsibility for my own leadership development.  The principles of effective leadership development and succession planning that Dan describes effectively in his ebook did not exist in these organizations where I worked as a young financial manager. Had they existed, these organizations could have achieved so much more from all of their employees and my own learning journey would have been much easier. This is why I appreciate the work Dan has done to help organizations and business leaders understand how to design and implement leadership development and succession planning programs. Among other areas, you’ll find critical help from Dan with the following:

  • Creating a leadership development strategy;
  • Developing a leadership competency model;
  • Assessing leadership talent;
  • Developing Individual Development Plans (IDP);
  • Leveraging leadership assessments; and
  • Developing leadership skills.

For anyone who needs to understand the basics for developing leadership development and succession planning programs, Dan’s ebook will be especially helpful. His book is also invaluable for those HR professionals who need to make a business case to senior leadership for organizational support and funding for these programs. Even small business owners without a HR Department can benefit from this book.

Dan’s practical experience with developing and leading these programs comes out throughout the book.  He is also generous in his advice of what works and what does not work well and why this is true from his own experiences. Finally, as a bonus, Dan provides some general management advice (how to have one-on-one meetings with your team members, how to give feedback, how to conduct team meetings, and other topics).

Dan’s ebook is well worth the $7.99. You can purchase it here.

Note: I did not receive any compensation for this review.

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