The Fundamentals Of Succession Planning

Succession management is the practice of identifying, analyzing, and grooming the right talent to succeed existing employees for an organization’s essential roles. 

The goal of success management and succession planning is to ensure that an organization has enough talent capacity to fill its most critical roles in the company, but the data is a bit concerning here. 

According to a study by Deloitte Insights, 86% of leaders believe leadership succession planning is an “urgent” or “important” priority, but only 14% believe they do it well. Common problems are that companies either ignore succession planning altogether or they don’t recognize the impact human behavior has on it. It’s a long-term process that requires meticulous work and advanced planning and most companies look only one-quarter ahead. 

Succession planning is crucial for business success and some of the objectives include: 

  • defining future leadership
  • developing leadership potential
  • analyzing the workforce and finding ready candidates
  • creating impact
  • accelerating development 

It’s essential for businesses to work on their succession planning and to start it off, we’ll describe six fundamentals that will ensure the future success of your organization. 

Convergence of succession planning with values

Succession planning is crucial for any organization that wants to have continuous leadership. Finding a candidate who will fill a critical leadership position isn’t just a matter of finding a person with the right skills—they also need to be aligned with the company’s vision, mission, and values. 

Leadership roles always require a person to lead by example and be the paragon of your value system, so the selected person needs to be aligned with it. 

Define key roles 

Having succession planning doesn’t mean you need to plan out a process for every single role you have in your organization. Your succession planning strategy should focus on the top 5 to 7 positions that are critical to your business’ success. 

Define those roles for your organization and focus on finding the best candidates for them. 

Create a mentoring process

Use the wisdom of more experienced members of your organization to nurture and grow newer candidates. It’s a “passing the torch” moment and candidates can benefit greatly from the process. Mentors can enjoy the process of passing down their hard-earned experience and knowledge to the next generation. Try to create a process that benefits both sides and you will make the most out of it.

Focus on developing your candidates

You won’t necessarily find the perfect candidate for the role, but instead you will need to develop them so they become that perfect candidate. This means analyzing your talent pool and finding potential rising stars and putting them into development programs so they can grow into the leaders your business needs. 

Finding the talent early on and ensuring they grow and develop, both skills and as leaders, is essential for a successful succession planning process. 

Retain institutional knowledge

You have employees who have gained vast business knowledge through experience, qualifications, and certifications and it would be best if they could pass the acquired knowledge through the process of succession planning. This way, your organization won’t lose any knowledge because it stays within the organization through a different employee. This will ensure your company can grow by using Isaac Newton’s quote of “standing on the shoulder of giants.” 

Promote internally, if possible

It won’t always be possible to move internal candidates into critical roles and you may need to look to external candidates. You should always consider internal candidates first and there are a couple of reasons for that: 

 

  • they understand the company’s mission and vision
  • they are aligned with the value system of the organization
  • they have learned the ins and outs of the organization through first-hand experience
  • they understand how different roles in your organization work
  • they know the people they work with 

 

Conclusion

Succession planning is a long-term process in a business world that looks for short-term solutions, but the process is crucial for your organization’s future. 

For more information on this topic, join our webinar “Succession planning: The foundation for future success of your organization” on July 20, 2021 at 01:00 PM EDT. You can register for the webinar here