There has been a large amount of buzz recently centering around the idea of bench strength in leaders that I felt should be addressed this week. First of all, what is bench strength? Bench strength is the gauge that determines the capabilities and competence of potential employees to fill in key professional and leadership positions.
Bench strength is a big deal that organizations should pay close attention to, because most companies are constantly going through turnover, restructuring, and developments in business strategy. Should a critical leader leave, there must be someone ready and willing to ascend as their replacement and avoid too much disruption to the business. You always want as little loss to productivity as can be managed.
Now I’m not saying you need to always be thinking that your leadership team will abandon you at a second’s notice. But life happens, business happens, and take it from me, nothing is ever set in stone. And should a gap need to be filled, it’s imperative to recognize which talent is ready to step up and take charge.
Take a guess as to what the number one indicator in bench strength should be. I’ll give you a hint: I never shut up about it in any of my blogs. Bingo! Business Acumen. How could it NOT be Business Acumen? Deep financial understanding of the business, knowing the ins and outs and the bottom line of how the organization makes money, connecting the dots of how every decision impacts all departments and functions and possessing a “business owner” mentality. The person who holds these attributes clearly knows their role and has been molded for an elevated position should the need arise.
Don’t wait until it’s too late. You don’t want to be in the 9th inning, have your pitcher blow out his shoulder and suddenly find that you have no one but unprepared rookies to close out against your biggest rival. That analogy may have gone on too long, but it’s still truth. Get invested in business acumen training, and increase your organization’s bench strength. Make sure your future leaders are already primed for leading the next charge.