Succession – Makes the world go round

Think about it, it does…

Not convinced? Can’t see it?

There is a big clue in the picture that accompanies this article…

That’s the Rowden, Christie, Palmer succession wall; I sit in front of these images of our children, parents, grandparents and great grandparents most days in my home office knowing I am a product of their own succession plans.

This is how simply succession planning is; it focuses on identifying and growing talent to fill leadership and business-critical positions in the future. It has gained popularity in recent years in both large and smaller organisations.

How do you do it?

Follow this winning formula to get you started.

  • Identify business critical roles – by focusing on key positions; including leadership and technical roles that could leave your organisation vulnerable if not filled quickly.
  • Identify succession risks – of certain positions becoming vacant at points in time, taking into account fluctuation rates, retirement dates, etc.
  • Identify talent – look within the busines first for “home grown” talent it can do wonders for retention rates. However, do not underestimate the value external recruits can bring with new ideas and approaches. It is key that you get the balance right between ‘Insiders’ versus ‘outsiders’ within the company or you will create a negative environment.
  • Develop internal talent – consider both the tasks and qualifications of employees currently in key positions. However, you should also think about how the positions may evolve in the future and whether they will require additional skills. Then design and set in motion the development programmes to nurture and grow the skills of individuals.
  • Draft your succession plan – A 9-box grid is a tool that is widely used which measures overall performance and potential, it is straightforward, simple, and very visually impactful.

Now with the value of diversity and inclusion being widely recognised, be mindful that diverse talents are captured on the plan and properly developed.

Modern succession planning also recognises that people need to make their own career decisions and to balance career and family responsibilities. Developing talent should not be exclusive to full-time employees and you should recognise the needs for flexible working; in doing this you will increase the available talent pool.

I advise my clients no matter how uncomfortable it feels that they ensure that employees understand the succession process, the plan and where they sit on it. Trust me the pain of doing this will soon disappear because this level of transparency, openness and fairness will have a positive impact on employee engagement.

Follow this formula for succession success and you will start to build up a strong talent pool, growing your business, making a profit and mitigating risk.

Succession really does make the world go round just like says Liza Minnelli in Cabaret – or maybe that was money?!