The Importance of Succession Planning
Succession planning is an on-going dynamic process that identifies, assesses,
and develops talent to insure that an organization can keep up with changes in
the workplace and marketplace. Succession planning focuses on these key
Succession planning addresses the needs of the organization as senior
management gets older. Many leaders of organizations spent countless
hours and years developing key components of the organization.
Unfortunately, the organization frequently fails to fully develop individuals
that are prepared to move into leadership roles. This is especially the
case within small companies, which often times struggle to keep the doors open
after a CEO or founder leaves the organization. Family businesses are
always at risk, and very few of them make it into the next generation.
Early planning removes that obstacle.
Succession planning prepares an organization for an unexpected, undesired
event. Who is prepared for the death or sudden illness of a key leader
in the organization? Key members of the leadership team are not immune to
the sudden events that life sends their way. They struggle with car
accidents, diseases, relationship issues and by other events that take them away
from their roles within the organization. These events cannot be
predicted, but it is entirely possible to have a plan that highlights who is
capable to take over if a key person is lost.
Succession planning ensures an organization has the right people in place
today, as well as into the future. What more can be said? While many
organizations look at succession planning as a means to define who will take
over the role of CEO or President, the reality is that all organizations should
use this planning process to determine who has developed the capabilities and
competencies to take over for a manager or supervisor within the
organization. It helps organizations measure the strength of their pool of
talent and also understand where there are gaps in that talent.
Just for a minute, think about our military. They have significant experience
with succession planning as a tool to develop, maintain and even motivate
talent. They prepare for the possibility of losing a key person by
assessing and understanding the strengths and weaknesses of each individual team
member and by defining their roles and responsibilities. When someone is
lost, the leadership knows exactly who will take over. They are always
Succession planning is a means to support the current
culture. Culture is so important to the stability and success of an
organization. An organization cannot afford to leave positions open when
they lose key leaders. It is not uncommon for it too take several months
to even a year to fill key roles within an organization. Employees need to
feel comfortable and secure, but that can quickly change if a key position is
Succession planning ultimately helps define business strategy into
business and organizational goals. Companies regularly commit time
and talent to developing their yearly strategic plans. Unfortunately,
these plans are too often focused on how the company can meet its financial
goals through more production of products of services. Rarely do these
plans take a look at how people impact the strategic goals of the company.
Succession planning is an important part of the overall plan because it helps to
define the types of high level skills that will be needed by the
organization. It is also clearly indicates how losing a key person will
impact the financial picture of a company. You figure it out...how much
does it cost your company when a key person leaves? What does it cost to
advertise for the position, to hire an executive search company to do the work,
and to interview possible candidates? What does it cost your business in
terms of a drop in performance while the position remains open? Are there
other hidden costs?
Are you ready to start a succession planning process in
your business? If the answer is yes, then you need to contact