10 Tips for Succession Planning

 Succession planning is essential to the long term success of any organization.  Here’s 10 of our favourite things to keep in mind when designing your process to identify, develop and select the next leaders in your organization:

1. Keep the process simple, transparent and flexible.

2. Ensure program goals align with long term strategy of organization including any consideration of new senior roles to be created

3. Involvement and support of management essential to process! in fact co-ownership of process and results by HR and line is ideal

4. Add an evaluation of each candidate’s level of engagement as well as his or her developmental readiness.

5. Look at all components of performance and potential:

  • Knowing – technical job knowledge
  • Being – how does candidate act/what kind of style 
  • Doing – activities they perform (tasks, team leadership, coaching)

6. Weigh potential more than performance; although both are important

7. Be sure to create sufficient bench strength to account for retirements, departures and to allow for a true assessment of how candidates grow when challenged with direct feedback.

8. Work to have the identification of high potential leaders for all key roles (some will be listed multiple times), include expected readiness and what support/development is being given to close gaps.

9. Create a peer mentoring program whereby people are matched based on their strength and someone else’s area of development 

10. Remember that just like in pro sports, some get drafted early, some play longer in the minors, some get called up and then sent back to the minors – last season doesn’t matter but this one does!

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