This past weekend I watched the coverage of the #MarchforOurLives in the US and couldn’t help but feel proud and relieved that the next generation is able and willing to take a stand. These “kids” are organized, charismatic, brave, articulate, and willing to step up for what they believe in. If only we could see this drive in the corporate world! (this last sentence is sarcasm by the way).

I have been in various consulting roles in the past decade and continue to come across the same theme of leadership. When asked about their top priorities, 9 times out of 10 companies I spoke to stated leadership development in the top three. We have all heard the statistics. The youngest boomers will turn 65 in 2029. Leaving just over 10 years to get our leadership pipelines built up. However, this isn’t a new issue. In the 90’s companies were stressing about leadership development and the beginning of the modern leadership development training began. Each year more companies send individuals to internal or external leadership development programs, conference, and seminars. “More money is spent on leadership development than any other corporate learning, yet 71% of companies do not feel their leaders are able to lead their organizations into the future.”[1]

This got me to thinking… what gives? More and more people are being trained to be leaders but companies still feel they lack critical leadership skills in their succession plans? The numbers don’t add up. I constantly hear the argument that millennials are not ready. But aren’t we missing a generation or two in there? The Gen Xers and the Xennials? Both posed and ready to jump in. Are they going to be good? Who knows?! If you want to know if you have good leaders in your pipeline, throw them into leadership situations and see who rises to the top (this analogy is falling apart as I write it by the way. I was going to be all diamond in the rough but diamonds sink…sooo back to rising). You won’t know if you have good leaders if you don’t try them out. Move your boomers into advisory roles, test out the Xennials, Xers and Millenials and maybe diamonds will rise (see what I did there?).

Long story short. The kids are all right. Take the training wheels off and watch them fly.

[1] Accessed on March 27th 2018.