Succession Planning: Planning for Success
By John Zorbini
nattanan23 / Pixabay
“The ability to make good decisions regarding people remains one of the last reliable sources of competitive advantage, since very few organizations are good at it.” –Peter Drucker
What would you do if a key employee in a critical position suddenly resigned, became ill or was terminated today? Would there be a mad scramble as you tried to recover or would you be prepared to carry on in a productive manner? If your answer is the former instead of the latter, then your organization is opening itself to unnecessary risk and potentially compromising its long-term survival. How does a forward-thinking organization reduce/eliminate such unnecessary risk? They leverage a Succession Plan.
Many organizations have little or no succession planning in place and if they do, it is shrouded in secrecy with very few “in the know”. Although many say they value succession planning, the management literature suggests that up to 67% don’t utilize the process. Organizations without succession plans don’t realize that ultimately it will cost them more to replace key leaders and deal with constant turnover of talent than if they had taken the time to develop a succession plan.
Add in the differences in how the new multi-generational workforce views their careers and the need for a strong succession planning process is greatly magnified. Managing the succession of talent is an important strategic process that helps to minimize gaps in leadership and enable companies to develop and retain their best employees. Succession Planning needs to be a priority for every organization that wants to be successful in an ever-changing business environment.
This article will cover what Succession Planning is and isn’t critical elements of a plan, and a short case study of succession planning in action.
What It Is
Succession Planning is a deliberate and systematic effort by an organization to ensure leadership continuity in key/critical positions. It is a key proactive management practice that identifies, develops, and retains a pipeline of leaders for the critical organization positions in an attempt to drive operational success. It also helps to enhance the organization’s opportunity to retain and develop intellectual and knowledge capital for the future. Most practitioners would go as far as to say that Succession Planning reduces risk and is vital to the long-term survival of any business. Sounds good – right? Yet some organizations choose NOT to do succession planning! Many reasons (excuses) are given for not doing it (the CEO already knows, takes too much time to manage the process, things change too frequently, etc.), but most ring hollow.
What It Isn’t
Sometimes, knowing what something isn’t may be more helpful than knowing what it is. In this case, Succession Planning isn’t just something that is done when the CEO or another Key Leader is exiting the organization and a mad scramble takes place to find an internal candidate. It is not just done to meet some type of Board of Directors requirement – check the box. And it shouldn’t be treated as some type of top secret intelligence report with only …read more
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