Identify the high potentials early. Unless you’re desperate, hire with promotion in mind.
Begin to develop solo contributors for management positions as soon as they walk in the door or can be identified from your internal people. Test them out on small- project leadership, or give them one direct report. Actually managing something will give you the most reliable data about whether this person can take on more managerial responsibilities.
Assign to the new hires, or the newly identified solo contributors, mentors who are outside their silos. Peer mentors also offer a great deal of value, especially for on-boarding new people.
Identify excellence markers and critical success factors for each position on the leadership team. You can create competency models for each job or each level in the organization, but there should be commonality at the upper echelons of the company.
Then, agree on standards for high-potentials. Make the path unique to your organization, but consider these milestones: first line manager with direct reports, manager of other managers, business leader (CFO, VP, General Manager etc.), and enterprise leader (president, CEO).
Develop a routine for offering management training once or twice a year. If you identify candidates early, you can send them through the training months before they assume responsibilities associated with a new position.
Make sure the managerial training, whether in-house or external, addresses the core competencies of management:
Sending and receiving messages
Setting goals with and for others
Giving balanced feedback
Building cohesive efforts and strong rapport
Holding people accountable
Implement a policy that encourages stars to develop outside their business units.
Develop formal mechanisms that allow managers to see high potentials from other areas.
Execute a process for rewarding leaders for sending stars to other areas of the organization or for accepting stars outside their silos.