Byron's Babbles

Building The Bench!

Posted in Coaching, Educational Leadership, Leadership, Learning Organization, Strategic Planning by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on August 20, 2015

leadership-benchThe lesson in A Year With Peter Drucker (Maciariello, 2014) on planning succession in organizations really struck home with me. In my own situation of leading a school in turnaround mode, it was obvious early that we did not have the bench strength for succession planning in most of our roles and responsibilities. Ideally, having the ability to test a number of people in highly responsible positions before making a decision is one of the safest approaches to succession. Amazingly, we just rolled out a program called “Focused Leader Academy” to do just that. I believe we should continually be mentoring the next generation, which is what we are doing with our Focused Leader Academy. I need to spend a percentage of my time mentoring the next generation. An organization that is not capable of perpetuating itself has failed. An organization therefore has to provide today the men and women who run it tomorrow (Maciariello, 2014). We must renew our human capital. We must also steadily upgrade our human resources.

“There is no success without a successor.” ~ Rick Warren

Really, the essential question when considering building the bench is: “What problems and opportunities are we likely to face as we expand globally?” For our Focused Leader Academy we started with the theory of action: IF we empower our teachers through leadership skill development… Then we will have teacher leaders ready to contribute to the success of Hoosier Academies and be an important part of our talent pipeline. This is an employee development and engagement program. The idea is that great minds and great motives still matter. Teachers with school and educational leadership aspirations will have the opportunity to become part of a cohort, which will take part in monthly training and be part of supervised Focused Leadership Projects for the schools.IMG_0640

The vision for this program is that leadership is born out of those who are affected by it. Our mission is that leadership needs to appear anywhere and anytime it is needed. By institutionalizing this program we are giving our emerging teacher leaders a legitimate place in the organization. I believe for high staff engagement we must be enabling our teachers to become leaders in the organization. I also believe in a strong employee leadership development program, such as our Focused Leader Academy, supported by an effective human resources organization.

So, in closing I would ask: What is your bench strength?


Maciariello, J. A. (2014). A year with Peter Drucker: 52 weeks of coaching for leadership effectiveness. New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers.


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  1. Got Mission? | Byron's Babbles said, on August 20, 2015 at 12:27 pm

    […] up the mission statement of our recently formed Focused Leader Academy. I blogged about this in Building the Bench! Our mission for this program is: Leadership needs to appear anywhere and anytime it is needed. That […]


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