The greatest threat facing employers isn't an external entity; it’s an internal force that can derail years of productivity. This threat takes the form of the absence of an internal leadership pipeline. Developing that pipeline is one of the most difficult challenges businesses face. While many recognize the necessity of such a program, research shows that 42 percent of leadership is not making this a priority. Worse, only 18 percent of organizations hold leadership accountable for identifying and developing successors. There are a number of reasons this might be the case. Development is costly and can cut into profits when budgets are already tight. Also, identifying leadership needs within an organization can be challenging, but without this understanding, it will be difficult to develop a successful leadership program. However, the payoff is well worth the effort. True leadership development is a critical part of corporate culture, and when management can focus on achievable outcomes, a clear, long-term strategy can emerge. Regardless of size, companies should make helping employees reach their leadership potential a top priority.