What is the succession plan in your organization? Does it feel like a waste of time? The truth is, many of them do. In recent years, many organizations have either let their succession plans become ineffective or they have completely dropped them altogether. If you are among the companies who are not happy with the impact of your succession planning process, you have plenty of company. What are you doing to ensure a robust baton pass in your organization?
Pipeline development can seem like that project that never quite gets off the ground. Who has time these days, right? Well, if you want to maintain and grow your organization, you do. The experienced technical, leadership, and staff resources you have today are going to leave the company at some point, and when they walk out the door, they’ll take their skills and institutional knowledge with them. Instead, consider integrating succession planning into your organization’s armature, and let the plan run its course.
Here are some practical takeaways to help you realize more impact from your organization’s succession planning efforts.
1. Succession Planning or Succession Development?
Pull succession closer to the vest. “Planning” implies that you’ll carry it out in the future. “Development” gives us actionable items right now. Plans can be sophisticated, and complete. They may include many to-do lists and implementation schedules. Development experiences develop people, so changing the language we use will also change the focus.
2. Focus on Outcomes versus Processes
Leadership typically pays attention to measurable outcomes and rewards. If you want to make your succession plan effective, integrate goals and rewards right from the start. Track progress, and you will have a better chance of getting leadership involved. What kinds of metrics work? Consider the weak areas in your departments. Which departments or areas of expertise in your organization are currently looking at a talent gap in the coming years?
3. Categorize Potential
Not every employee has the same potential, and that’s not bad. Think of the glass as half-full, and you will realize that each person has some kind of potential. Consider each of your employees or leaders as falling into one of three potential categories. This model was developed by the authors of Leadership Pipeline, (Josey-Bass, 2011 Ram Charan, Steve Drotter, and Jim Noel).
Turn Potential Able to do the work at the next level in three to five years or sooner.
Growth Potential Able to do the work of bigger jobs at the same level in the near term.
Mastery Potential Able to do the same kind of work currently being done, only better.
This tool will enable you to have focused, productive discussions. Employees that fall into each one of these categories is important for the organization, but takes a very different employee development investment.
Don’t let your organization lose its core knowledge and technical skills base. Get started with succession development, focusing on outcomes, categorizing potential, using those categories to inform training plans and mentoring partnerships in every part of your company.
“Succession planning is perpetuating, the enterprise by filling the pipeline with high-performing people to ensure that every leadership level has an abundance of these performers to draw from, both now and in the future.” The Leadership Pipeline (Jossey-Bass, 2011)
At EDSI, we have been resolving employee development, leadership, generational, professional presence, and personal effectiveness issues for over 30 years. Contact us to learn how we can help increase productivity and profits in your organization.