Leadership Paper

Option #2 – Leadership Development Succession

For your Portfolio Project, you will utilize knowledge about leadership development succession and provide the Portfolio Project with an essay that addresses the following:

Leadership Development Succession Development, Through Self-Awareness and Self-Discipline
Within this section, explain and discuss how the following aspects are critical in the leadership development succession development process. Be sure to address the following points for this section:

  • Explain and describe the nature of leadership succession.
  • Leadership development through self-awareness.
  • Leadership development through self-discipline.
  • Education.
  • Experience.
  • Mentoring.

Leadership Development Programs
Within this section, explain and discuss at least three different leadership development programs. Be sure to address the following points for this section:

  • Explain and discuss three types of leadership development programs.
  • Explain and discuss the pros and cons of each type of leadership development program.
  • Explain and discuss latest trends regarding leadership development program and why these trends would be successful.

Leadership Succession
Within this section, explain and discuss how the following aspects are critical in the leadership succession process. Be sure to address the following points for this section:

  • Explain and describe the nature of leadership succession.
  • Explain and discuss how the board chooses a successor.
  • Explain and discuss the emotional aspects of leadership succession.
  • Explain and discuss why leadership must develop a pool of successors.
  • Explain and discuss the pros and cons of growing inside-outside leaders.

Lessons Learned
Within this section, explain and discuss how lessons learned from the research can assist you, as a CEO, to develop and implement leadership development succession development.Be sure to address the following points for this section:

  • Provide at least two examples of successful leadership development succession development and explain why these were successful.
  • Provide at least two examples of unsuccessful leadership development succession development and explain why these were not successful.
  • Explain and describe, as the CEO of your firm, the critical aspects that your leadership development succession development would contain.

The portfolio project is an 8-10 page research paper (approximately 3,500 words). Follow the APA Requirements when formatting and documenting your sources. Your final paper will be graded not only on content, but also on the quality of your writing, including syntax and grammar. It is highly recommended you closely proofread your assignment prior to submission.

Final Paper Instructions

  1. Include an introduction. It must provide a clear statement of your position on the topic.
  2. Your paper must be at 8-10 pages in length, not counting the title and reference pages—which you must include.
  3. Examine your position for each question by providing citations from at least seven outside sources other than the textbook.
  4. Offer your conclusions regarding how best to manage the issue (i.e., your informed opinion on the issues raised).
  5. The paper shall comply with the requirements defined within APA Requirements. Refer to the Portfolio Project rubric for grading criteria.

The paper must demonstrate what you have learned about current issues related to experiences of leadership development succession. Your paper is expected to have depth and offer a thoughtful analysis on the topic. The paper should be based on references to scholarly materials (rather than on introductory textbooks, popular website writings, or musings, for example) and should support your claims with evidence.

The most common mistakes in writing an essay are, (a) simply summarizing the topic and not analyzing it or discussing your views, and (b) failing to relate the subject to the broader context of leadership and operations management as discussed in class and found in the readings. Adequately including the broader contexts includes, for example, considering how your research might yield a different approach to leadership.

The paper and preliminary deliverables must be well written and formatted in conformity with the APA Requirements.


1. Strategic Leadership

Success in an organization is not luck or happenstance; instead, strategic leadership decisions are the determining factor. Strategic leadership is the functional responsibility of top management in the organization, which is a team usually comprised of the CEO and executive members. The executive team could be other C-level leaders, the president, and vice presidents. The vice presidents will field a functional team of operational leaders within their respective areas, with the mission of implementing organizational strategies (Lussier & Archua, 2013).

The functional teams consist of project managers, forepersons, and supervisors. Although the process of strategic management does involve everyone in the organization, the strategic leadership team (the CEO and the executive team) is ultimately responsible for strategic management and organizational performance. The board of directors holds the CEO and the executive team responsible and accountable. The CEO holds the vice presidents and their teams responsible for implementation and meeting the established goals (Lussier & Archua, 2013).


Change is increasing at a phenomenal rate in the marketplace today. Strategic leadership is on the leading edge of helping an organization cope with the change. During the turbulence and disruption of the business environment, strategic leadership provides stability and grounding that assists the organization’s adaptability and survival. It is of equal value to both for-profit and non-profit organizations (Lussier & Archua, 2013).

Definitions of strategic leadership are many, but there are common themes; vision, change, people, and performance. Lussier and Archua (2013) define strategic leadership as “a person’s ability to anticipate, envision, maintain flexibility, think strategically, and work with others to initiate changes that will create a viable future for the organization” (p. 396). Essentially, strategic leadership generates the inspiration in, and determines the direction of the organization so implementers can put into effect the organizational objectives (Lussier & Archua, 2013).

Strategic leaders are responsible for the short-term performance of the organization. They also create the operating environment to ensure the long-term competitiveness of the organization. Scholars and academics have found that effective strategic models feature some established key components. Among these components are; setting the organization’s direction, developing and sustaining competencies, developing human capital, ensuring the corporate culture, managing ethics, and emplacing effective controls (Lussier & Archua, 2013).

As Lussier and Archua (2013) stated, the effective strategic leader must be capable of:

  • Anticipating and forecasting events in the external environment that have the potential to impact business performance—they observe from the outside in.
  • Finding and sustaining competitive advantage by building core competencies and selecting the right markets in which to compete.
  • Evaluating strategy implementation and results systematically, and making strategic adjustments.
  • Building highly effective, efficient, and motivated teams of employees.
  • Selecting, developing, and mentoring a talented team of top leaders.
  • Deciding on appropriate goals and priorities.
  • Communicating effectively (p. 397).

Strategic leaders choose to either concentrate the decision-making power at the executive levels or share it with the lower levels. Both approaches has an impact on the followers in the organization. Sharing much of the decision-making authority frees the executive branch for strategic thinking and problem resolution. At the same time, sharing decision-making authority does not absolve the executive level strategic leaders in the event there are failures (Lussier & Archua, 2013).

Strategic Leadership Failures

Culturally, we tend to want to focus on the positive. As a result, the press will publish, with fanfare, the success of CEOs, while quietly sweeping away failures. Unsuccessful CEOs will be let go privately, and any public statements will go to extremes to avoid announcing the release was due to a failure to meet performance expectations. On rare occasions, boards will speak candidly about the reason for the release of a CEO (or other critical resources of a firm). The leadership team must take a position of openness, honesty, and transparency to avoid repeating the same mistakes when communicating the release of a critical resource from a firm. This simple act of open communications will keep the shareholders, stockholders, government regulators, and the public informed (Lussier & Archua, 2013).

While there are many reasons for strategic leaders failing, the most common reason is faulty decision making. According to Lussier and Archua (2013), senior executives fail when:

  • Their strategic vision for the organization does not align with positive environmental trends;
  • They deviate from the mission to pursue actions that favor their personal interests, not their constituents’ and organization’s interests;
  • They set long-term goals that are either too low or too high;
  • They engage in, or condone, unethical conduct;
  • They select the wrong strategies;
  • They fail to effectively lead the strategy implementation process; and,
  • They pay little or no attention to performance standards. (p. 397)

Discussion arises on the competency of leaders who have failed due to lacking leadership experience and relying on intuition instead of conducting rational analyses. Lussier and Archua (2013) define executive intuition as, “The instinctive ability to respond to problems without the benefit of concrete facts and information” (p. 397). It is true that executive intuition may generate enthusiasm, imagination, and innovative behaviors (Lussier & Archua, 2013).

At the same time, it may become a large failure. It can be argued that intuition is too risky, yet opposing voices claim that, in the volatile marketplace of today, intuition used by experienced executives is necessary—more so where time is critical. Reasonable voices maintain there is a place for both intuition and rational decision making (Lussier & Archua, 2013).

Examples of catastrophic failures in companies where both ethical and moral lapses in judgment occur are legion (Enron, World Com, and Tyco). The goal of a strategic leader should be to develop and install integrity programs that are sustainable, and drive the self-regulation of ethics as a routine matter. This is only likely if the leader is demonstrating integrity—which is the foundation of the reputation and credibility of the strategic leadership (Lussier & Archua, 2013).

2. Strategic Planning Using SWOT

Developing a strategic plan assists a leader to lead strategically. It includes the activities that produce the stated goals and objectives of the strategy. In some cases, an organization arrives at the strategy after the strategic planning sessions. In other cases, leaders may determine the strategy before planning strategically. We know from earlier learning that some business people believe intuition and judgment in a leader are more important than creating a strategy. The bottom line is that once an organization has a strategy, it needs a plan to implement it (DuBrin, 2016).

Very often, the plan for strategy implementation will develop because of a SWOT analysis. A SWOT analysis is a method of considering the internal strengths and internal weaknesses of an organization. It also considers the external environment for opportunities and threats (DuBrin, 2016).

A SWOT analysis is an effort to explore the interactions between the internal characteristics of one’s organization and the external marketplace where it is competing. A SWOT analysis is useful for an organization as it looks for some niche industries in which it is not now involved. Following this introduction are explanations of the components of a SWOT analysis (DuBrin, 2016).

When completing a SWOT analysis, get answers to questions like these: What are the possible obstacles? What is the competition doing? What special requirements need addressing (for the product or service)? Are there changes in technology that may affect the initiative (DuBrin, 2016)?

Regardless of negatives that arise in the analysis, do not allow them to rule the analysis. A SWOT analysis can uncover the changes needed to succeed in a new initiative. It also creates perspective. Every strategic planning effort should involve at least some exploration of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (DuBrin, 2016).

3. Current Business Strategies

There are processes business leaders and managers use to make strategic decisions. One approach is to look at the content of the decisions. Leaders should ask about the focus or impact to determine the business strategy classification (DuBrin, 2016).

During the business strategy classification process, the corporate strategist must know what business is being entered. For example, whether it will be at the corporate level, business level, or functional level. The business strategist needs to know how the organization will compete. The functional strategist needs to know how the organization will support the business strategy. The following are a number of current strategies that address some or all of these levels.


Cost Leadership

Focus or Niche

High Quality


Strategic Alliances

Growth through Acquisition

High Speed and First-Mover Strategy

Product and Global Diversification

Sticking to Core Competencies

Brand Leadership

Focus on Environmental Sustainability

Competitive Advantage through Hiring Talented People

This is quite a list of ways to gain a competitive edge in the marketplace, but what is key to the effectiveness of these processes is implementation. This means effective managers will support strategic leadership. In some organizations, the senior leaders do not always hear the truth from the ranks. The subordinate leaders must be able to present their ideas to their senior managers as an honest conversation. Then those senior managers can adjust the strategy (DuBrin, 2016).

4. Management of the Knowledge and Learning Process

Another thrust of leaders is to help their organizations better adapt to the environment by assisting workers and the organization to become better learners. To accomplish this, the leader manages knowledge and cultivates a learning organization. Knowledge management (KM) is a concerted effort to improve the creating, delivery, and application of knowledge (DuBrin, 2016).

When knowledge is managed effectively, information is shared as needed, whether it be printed, stored electronically, or rests in the brains of workers. Managing knowledge helps create a learning organization—one that is skilled at creating, acquiring, and transferring knowledge to reflect new perspectives and insights (DuBrin, 2016).

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