Building a Leadership Pipeline for Sustainable Growth

Leadership development is pivotal in the narrative of highly successful companies. Yet, the conventional strategies for shaping leaders are shifting, necessitating a mix of traditional and innovative training methods that go beyond what academia can provide. In this piece, Brian Kopas, Engagement Director at TBM for the Leadership Solutions Practice, introduces the idea of a Kaizen/Continuous Improvement (CI) office. This model encourages the creation of interdisciplinary teams tasked with improving, leading, and innovating within the company’s essential operations, simultaneously fostering the growth of upcoming leaders. Brian discusses the critical need for effective leadership in the industry and the pivotal role of a CI office in identifying and cultivating leadership talent internally.

Addressing the Leadership Shortage

Despite significant investment in leadership development, many organizations face a leadership void. This gap arises from a misalignment between the skills taught in leadership programs and the collaborative, interpersonal skills required in today's business environment. The manufacturing sector, in particular, confronts additional challenges due to a generational skills gap and the impending retirement of Baby Boomer leaders.

CI Office: A Hub for Leadership Growth

A CI office serves as a catalyst for leadership development, emphasizing empowerment and providing employees with the opportunity to develop leadership skills through real-time problem-solving. This initiative supports a culture of continuous improvement and positions companies to better nurture and retain their future leaders.

Key Strategies for CI Office Success

The implementation of a CI office requires strategic commitment, a focus on impactful projects for quick wins, and the formation of teams characterized by their innate drive for improvement. Cross-business alignment and the provision of opportunities for rotations and cross-discipline learning are crucial for broadening the perspectives of potential leaders and preparing them for senior roles.

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Meet the Expert



Brian Kopas
Engagement Director, Leadership Solutions

Senior management executive and consultant with over 35 years of experience. Passionate Lean Enterprise transformation leader and coach with dramatic safety, quality, delivery, lead-time and financial improvements stemming from the application of Lean principles to achieve extraordinary results.