My clients have different needs when it comes to succession planning and sometimes these needs impact who manages the succession planning process in their companies. For example, some organizations have specific expansion plans which dictate what type of process, skills sets and leadership will be part of the initiative. Other organizations have diversity initiatives that may require a different process and leaders. Still others have board mandates requiring executive succession plans which often demand a different level of participation from the executive team.
Determining which positions are the most critical as part of succession planning can be challenging. We won’t find a “standard list” of positions on the internet. Every organization must identify these vital roles in the context of many factors, including market conditions and organizational strategy. For example, companies who require technical innovation to execute their strategy might determine that specific engineering roles are critical while other companies would identify specific marketing roles at most critical.
We are often asked by our clients to help them anticipate common mistakes, obstacles or roadblocks when implementing a succession planning process. Planning ahead not only enables clients to mitigate these obstacles but also allows for thorough contingency planning should those obstacles arise.
The recent news on Steve Jobs’ resignation highlights the importance of having a solid succession planning process in place. In the case of Apple, there was, and is presently, a successor for Steve Jobs however for many organizations this is not the case. When executives leave an organization whether for health reasons, desire to move to another company or retirement, not only does this leave a gaping hole in the executive team but it’s very expensive to fill the role externally (and this certainly comes with no guarantee that the new external hire will “fit” within the organization culturally). If the role is filled unexpectedly with an internal leader, then that person’s role is vacant, and so on and so on.
The client is a large retail organization with a strong desire to promote potential leaders in the company. The biggest challenge was to first gain a thorough understanding of the talent makeup throughout the company and determine which employees could potentially be promoted into leadership positions in the near future. Given the unique culture within this organization, a second challenge was to ensure that the employees identified as future leaders exhibited the core values
and demonstrated behaviors consistent with the company culture.
Rapid growth and sales force expansion in recent years had provided sales professionals at all levels with opportunities for promotion and increased responsibility. During this expansion, the organization struggled to identify internal candidates to assume management positions and had to quickly prepare newly promoted managers to move the organization forward.
Whether or not to communicate a leader’s “high-potential” status, as identified through the succession planning process, is one of our clients’ most frequently-asked questions. There are many valid reasons for apprehension here:
Ever wish you could clone your best and brightest? Until we figure out those messy scientific, legal and ethical issues, it’s probably best to use human capital intelligence instead.
The one size fits all t-shirt is supposed to be designed to fit "most" people but it really does not fit anyone very well. Just imagine if someone starting making one size fits all shoes!
Development planning is a powerful talent management tool that is a critical part of both Performance Management and Succession Planning. Development goals can be focused on enhancing skills and competencies related to one's current role, leveraging strengths, and/or developing new capabilities for future roles. An Indvidual Development Plan (IDP) can include any or all of the following types of development goals.
"Do Better" Goals - Do Better goals target skills and competencies that need to be improved to improve in one's current role. Example Do Better goals include:
- Become more effective at managing time
- Improve public speaking skills