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Tips for Surviving the Executive Leadership Shortage

October 23rd, 2011

Career trend experts have been predicting the shortage of executive leadership candidates for quite some time. A 2008 talent survey conducted by Aon indicated that as much as 60% of all companies are dealing with a lack of leadership candidates, which is significantly impacting their productivity. Almost 31% of these companies expect a lack of leadership talent to adversely affect their performance in the next decade, most likely as a result of an aging workforce and a large number of unskilled unemployed workers in the USA. In 2009 alone, American companies spent nearly $12 billion on leadership training and development programs, which amounts to almost a quarter of their training budgets.

However, are we keeping up with the demands of the workforce in terms of executive leadership needs in 2011 and beyond? In the USA alone, some 10,000 Baby Boomers turn 65 daily, making them eligible for Social Security benefits. This means many of these capable folks are stepping down from key leadership roles in order to enjoy their golden years – with no one to replace them. Oftentimes, small and mid-size companies do not adequately prepare for such transitions, which can lead to chaos and miss-managed organizations. We hear about cases of unworthy CEO’s and CFO’s in the news every week.

There are a few ways to offset these shortages, by implementing a plan to develop the next generation of leaders. Here are some suggestions from the well-respected Annie E. Casey Foundation that can help make leadership transitions a success.

Place value on the ideas of young executives. Chances are you have some brilliant minds among your younger staff members. Along with recognizing the achievements of your senior execs, take the time to encourage new ideas and innovations from your younger executives. In this way, your leadership can embrace the contributions of all your executive staff as one cohesive effort to reach company objectives.

Blend the new with the old. Encourage your seasoned executives to work as teams with younger executives in order to foster an intergenerational environment. This allows all to share their perspectives on issues, solve problems, and come up with better solutions to previously tired problems. Use this to identify key problem solvers to assign to higher-level projects.

Evaluate your current decision-making model. Consider if your younger executives are getting “shot down” by senior executives when it comes to critical decisions. This can and will discourage rookie executives from sharing their ideas and leaves them frustrated and looking for other opportunities.

Promote work-life balance. Today’s generation of executives value family and personal time, unlike the values of past generations who placed a higher value on work time. Help all your employees develop a better balance between work duties and personal responsibilities, to keep future leaders engaged and on board for the long term.

Partner with an executive recruiting firm. An effective method of keeping up with the demands of a shrinking workforce is by contracting with a quality executive recruiting company like Stark Talent. You can be connected with a wide range of pre-screened executive talents, to fill key assignments on demand.

Want more tips for maintaining the right mix of executive staff members? Be sure to visit Stark Talent for more great ideas and resources designed to help you stay successful!