These are proven techniques to make succession planning effective, based on my 30+ years of advising scores of companies.
- The leader needs to be the driver and chief architect. HR can be a facilitator, but should not lead succession planning.
- Expand your thinking beyond internal candidates–you don’t want the best of what’s available, but rather the best fit.
- Don’t begin by identifying candidates for each existing position. Instead, identify the compentencies required for each position today and in the future.
- Use more than just opinions to make assessments. Use information such as education, prior levels of responsibility, key successes, proven ability to learn, etc.
- Pay attention to critically important development points, such as the jump from functional responsibilities to P&L accountability. Identify these and support them.
- Group meetings to discuss succession candidates are wasted if they are simply opinion focused. Think through how to develop a group perspective on talent and development.
- Succession plans offer little real value. What are your action plans to close gaps and accelerate critical development?
- You’ll learn a lot when you see the candidates each leader proposes for his/her position. Some of the learning you won’t like.
- Hold leaders accountable for follow-through on succession actions. That’s where the real value is, and where succession often fails to deliver.
- Demonstrate leadership by being the first to follow-through with targeted development plans for your own potential candidates.
Bob Legge works with companies to improve individual and organizational performance. His clients have included Fortune 500 companies, mid-size companies, non-profits, education and government. To find out more, contact Bob at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at (585) 305-7853. Bob’s website is www.boblegge.com.