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The authors describe a Development Dimensions International approach to leadership development called "acceleration pools." Their book "is designed to help you understand and implement systems that will identify talent and develop the high-potential people your organization needs to grow and prosper." (p. vii). This is the preferred alternative to the revolving door of expensive executives hired from outside to effect miraculous change.

The book makes its case for acceleration pools in five sections. The first section argues that organizations should develop their internal leadership "bench strength" and suggests how to identify high potential leaders and provide them with growth opportunities. The argument is strengthened by several cases studies and identification of organizational culture factors that contribute to the success of acceleration pools. Part Two contains a single chapter with advice about identifying high potential participants. Most of this advice is in the form of general strategies for identifying participants, such as optimizing the size of the pool and considering morale effects of various inclusion and exclusion techniques. It would be a stronger if it included more about competencies and how to assess them accurately to select the best acceleration pool members.

Part Three discusses how to diagnose the strengths and weaknesses--seen as developmental needs--of acceleration pool members. This section does discuss specific competencies and how to assess their mastery. There is also an insightful discussion of the "derailers," such as arrogance, avoidance, and perfectionism, that impede employee development. Part Four may be the book's most useful section. It describes specific strategies for developing leaders. The focus is on providing these opportunities to members of the acceleration pool, but most of these approaches can be used independently of the pool concept. The possibilities organized into developmental assignments, short-term experiences, formal training and executive coaching.

Part Five revisits the acceleration pool concept and fine-tunes the book's advice for implementing pools with the best chances for success. This is primary political advice for obtaining support from key stakeholders and helping a new acceleration pool program get a toehold before it has had time to prove itself.

I recommend this book for anyone interested in developing leadership abilities, either for others or in themselves. Some caution is needed when implementing an acceleration program in government contexts given formal requirements for "fair and open competition" for opportunities that may lead to promotion. This can be done, however, as several of the authors' case studies illustrate.
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This is a comprehensive guide to identifying and developing future leaders. The authors present an exhaustive (sometimes exhausting) explanation of a program called "Acceleration Pooling" - a fancy collective name for grouping everyone in your firm who has the potential to lead. Much of the content seems like common sense, yet, organizations harried by short-term challenges can easily neglect long-term tasks, such as leadership development. This carefully planned, meticulously documented approach may keep organizations from neglecting the future. Despite its turgid, jargon-choked style, this book may fill the need. Time-pressed managers can glean the most important points quickly from chapters 2, 6 and 16, which have some solid gold principles of succession planning. Human Resource managers will want to delve into the other chapters. The authors, who are consultants, make a strong case for hiring consultants to implement this system, and have registered, copyrighted, service marked and/or trademarked every form and bit of terminology that could possibly be protected. We note that many of these leadership building methods, tools and techniques are in the public domain, in case you want to do-it-yourself, using this guide book.
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on October 14, 2003
This is a comprehensive guide to identifying and developing future leaders. The authors present an exhaustive (sometimes exhausting) explanation of a program called "Acceleration Pooling" - a fancy collective name for grouping everyone in your firm who has the potential to lead. Much of the content seems like common sense, yet, organizations harried by short-term challenges can easily neglect long-term tasks, such as leadership development. This carefully planned, meticulously documented approach may keep organizations from neglecting the future. Despite its turgid, jargon-choked style, this book may fill the need. Time-pressed managers can glean the most important points quickly from chapters 2, 6 and 16, which have some solid gold principles of succession planning. Human Resource managers will want to delve into the other chapters. The authors, who are consultants, make a strong case for hiring consultants to implement this system, and have registered, copyrighted, service marked and/or trademarked every form and bit of terminology that could possibly be protected. We note that many of these leadership building methods, tools and techniques are in the public domain, in case you want to do-it-yourself, using this guide book.
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on February 7, 2003
I whole-heartedly agree with the prior reviewers of "Grow Your Own Leaders." DDI is a powerhouse organization, and the authors have provided a well organized, comprehensive and highly practical resource brimming with insights and development templates. The corresponding internet resources (60+ pages) are a considerable bonus. I have reviewed numerouse leadership development books and consider this to the best.
I strongly recommend this book for any executive or manager who wants to boost their own performance and reputation as well as the bottom line of his/her organization.
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on February 11, 2003
"Grow Your Own Leaders" is an excellent resource for any manager or executive who has a desire to increase his/her reputation as well as the talent pool and bottom line of his/her organization. Comprehensive, state-of-the-art, engaging and brimming with practical and user-friendly templates (the 60+ pages on DDI's website are a major plus), "Grow Your Own Leaders" is one of the best leadership development books I have come across yet. I will be referring to this book for many years to come. Thank you William Byham and company.
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on December 13, 2013
Few books provide the quality and depth of insight as does this book. Why re-invent the wheel. Learn from others and use what they so freely offer.
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