My all-time favorite movie series as a kid was Rocky. As is the case with all movie series, I had a favorite movie in the series. A “favorite” of my favorite, if you will. That movie was Rocky IV. Now, don’t get me wrong, the whole series was mesmerizing, but there is something about the storyline of Rocky IV that makes it so epic. I mean, Sylvester Stallone as Rocky Balboa avenging the death of his best friend, Apollo, in an exhibition match with Ivan Drago, the guy who killed him! From the music, to the intense training scenes, to the landscape of Siberia, to the final bell! I get chills just thinking about it! If that movie didn’t get you fired up when you were a kid, I don’t know if you had a pulse!

I digress.

While the movie in its entirety is pure genius, the scene with the song, “No Easy Way Out” is one that is engrained in my mind. If you’re not familiar with this scene or just want to relive it, you can check it out here.

“There’s no easy way out.
There’s no shortcut home.”

As an athlete at a young age, whether practicing or competing, these words were a constant reminder that getting where I wanted to go – achieving my goals and reaching my dreams — wasn’t going to be easy. There was going to be struggle. There was going to be heartache. There was going to be pain. But it all would be worth it in the end.

In today’s business landscape, it seems to me that we have forgotten all about the process in achieving a desired outcome. Speed is a priority and for good reason. After all, things change rapidly. A “constant” ceases to exist.

And while this is true, one variable that we are missing is recognizing and understanding that developing people who are going to be making executive level decisions for the next 20-30 years is critical to the long-term survival and success of the company.

The development strategies of “hang in there” and “keep chopping wood” are severely outdated and need to be done away with forever. Any reputable source will tell you that there is an alarming gap in leadership roles. That gap is only going to continue to get bigger due to the generational shift of Baby Boomers leaving the workforce at a rapid rate.

Think about it this way: 10,000 Baby Boomers per day hit retirement age.

Read that again.

10,000 per day!

Not only are they reaching retirement age, but they hold the majority of leadership positions in organizations. Another startling fact: there simply aren’t enough Gen Xers to fill their shoes, thus the gap.

Time is not on our side here. The time to get these future leaders prepared for an inevitable circumstance is NOW. It’s not a matter of “if” some of these Millennials are going to be given an opportunity for a leadership role — it’s “when”.

The question you will have to answer is: will they be ready?