Succession planning is a continuous and systematic process that should be tied to the organization’s strategic plan. In other words, the details of a succession plan are determined by what the company wants to be in the future.
Succession planning includes identifying, assessing and developing talent to ensure leadership continuity. It must allow for unforeseen and constantly changing business needs and reflect the way the company wants to grow in the future by aligning with strategic objectives and goals. Careful succession planning now can make the difference in retaining key talent and ensuring your firm’s ongoing profitability and success.
The succession planning processes differs from company to company, but an organization should take some actions to assess its leadership pipeline, as outlined below:
- Begin with commitment from senior management
- Link succession planning to strategic goals
- Project future leadership requirements
- Generate competency lists
- Create lists of potential candidates
- Assess internal talent’s business, management and interpersonal skills
- Gauge potential derailment factors
- Confirm motivation to lead
- Provide training and development opportunities
- Assign formal and informal mentors
- Offer executive coaching
- Evaluate demonstrated results
- Capture the knowledge of those leaving
- Continuously revisit and revise the succession plan as necessary
It is never too soon to begin. Successful leaders begin thinking about their successors the first day on the job since it can take at least three to five years to identify, assess and develop the talent that will one day take their places.
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