Linda Henman

Dr. Linda Henman is one of those rare experts who can say she’s a coach, consultant, speaker, and author. For more than 30 years, she has worked with Fortune 500 Companies and small businesses that want to think strategically, grow dramatically, promote intelligently, and compete successfully today and tomorrow. 

The Care and Feeding of Exceptional Performers - The CEO Magazine

Ordinary just won’t work anymore. Organizations will increasingly depend on cutting-edge solutions to never-before-seen problems and clever ideas for those recurring headaches that have always plagued us. Research indicates that a handful of star performers create the vast majority of valuable ideas for their organizations.

People erroneously use the terms “excellent” and “exceptional” synonymously, but the two differ. “Excellent” implies a distinction from others but not necessarily rarity. For example, one might comment that a fourth-grade pianist is excellent, but she might be one of many in her class who shares the honor.

Mergers, acquisitions, downsizing, and growth all require an unprecedented need for information about key executives and a framework for assessing the competencies required to lead people during extraordinary times. Yet, even with the revolving doors at the top of many companies spinning faster than ever, organizations still overlook opportunities to develop talent from the bottom up, and they continue to allow the selection of top leadership to turn into messy melodramas.

Organizations with the greatest possibility of success also have the greatest possibility of failure. That is, the same behaviors and characteristics that maximize a company’s probability of notable success also maximize its probability of failure. The status quo stands firmly at odds with innovation, and the commitments of today often don’t align with the reality of tomorrow. In the past, we have relied on past performance to predict the future. Now we can’t.

In the past, leaders used the terms replacement planning and succession planning synonymously, but the two differ. Convincing decision makers to have a disaster replacement plan in the event that key individuals die or depart unexpectedly is not too difficult; persuading them to prepare people for advancement years ahead of their actual promotions presents more challenges.

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