For many companies succession development, or succession planning can be a concerning affair. There is a definite worry among CEOs lacking an able and ready candidate to fulfill the role in replacing the planned or unplanned loss of a leader. Insofar as this is a problem, the concern for the performance and continuity of the business is at risk of rolling downhill. It is vital to be aware of this risk within your company or business, to acknowledge and plan ahead in order to sustain an optimal level of performance no matter what might happen.
Succession planning is a term you should eliminate from your vocabulary, in this day and age you want to focus on the development on leaders. Succession planning in the old paradigm was about having a simple name written down to replace the CEO, however with the mentality of more business savvy individuals in mind, succession development is about having many well trained, developed, qualified persons ready to replace any management position that becomes open.
There are a few core principles that underlie succession development planning. First, the assessment of key positions within your company, following this what are the competencies an individual requires to qualify for this position, what experiences are needed. Once this information has been overviewed, finding the right candidates include looking at first and foremost those at the top two levels of the business, then, those high potential employees a level below. Lastly, a list of those candidates identified as having high performance and potential for advancement.
For each individual on the list, an identification of their development needs should be considered to prepare them for the next level. Following this a plan can be made to develop these individuals over the course of the next year, subject to a semi annual or annual review of his or her key development issues.
Succession development is not a process that takes a single year however, it can and should take 2, 5, even 10 years to ready an individual for the leadership qualities necessary in order to fulfill any position. We see with big companies like GE, Sonoco, and Pepsico that they are developing and producing amazing leaders over the course of an entire career. Don’t think in terms of planning, put the effort into developing the women and men who will be ready to lead the future of the company.