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Developing Tomorrow’s Leaders

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

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Have you ever observed an organization of volunteers or a community event that had been strong for several years suddenly begin struggling to keep alive?  The money may have dried-up or the volunteer numbers may have dwindled below operational levels.  Unfortunately, the purpose of the group or event may be as relevant as ever, but the energy behind it may suffer from waning enthusiasm or a lack of support.

More times than not, the main culprit of this downward cycle is a lack of adequate planning to ensure that the next generation of leaders has been developed.  The original leaders of a cause may have done a terrific job but may now be wintering in Arizona or have moved on to other adventures.  And without a person or plan to take over, the organization is at risk of faltering.

Ideally, any transfer of leadership occurs smoothly, and organizations maintain excellent performance.  But this does not happen automatically.  It takes early planning and a commitment to invest in the future by recruiting, training, and inspiring those who someday will take the helm.

workshopsThe same challenges faced by volunteer organizations can also be felt in businesses.  Owners grow older and wish to retire.  Or maybe they are ‘set in their ways’ and are reluctant to make some tough decisions or changes that will keep their businesses in step with the ever-changing marketplace.   Change is difficult but necessary.  And change is more difficult when new leaders are not prepared to make the hard choices or are unable to exert the requisite passion to keep things on track.

This necessity for change is why any successful business or volunteer organization that has staying power will have either a formal process or, at the least, a strong commitment to succession management.  They have put in place the steps necessary to develop the next generation of leaders.   The best organizations will invest in training those who demonstrate the talent and passion to take over when current leadership moves on.

We are fortunate in Polk County to have many great organizations and businesses that have thrived for generations.  Their long-term success is due, in part, to their ability to plan for, and develop, future leaders.  Keep looking for the next leaders.  They are out there…they are on your payroll…they are in our schools…and they are in our communities.


The Polk County Economic Development Corporation is a public-private organization that was created to encourage and promote economic development and capital investment, create and retain quality jobs, enhance the tax base and facilitate positive sustainable growth throughout Polk County, Wisconsin.

Polk County Economic Development Corporation
100 Polk Plaza
Suite 226
Balsam Lake, WI  54810
(715) 405-3400
director@polkcountyedc.com

Category: PCEDC Blog