Competition, finance reform, and ever-changing marketplace demands have put increased pressure on organizations to deliver new and innovative strategies and build talent capabilities to support implementation. As a result, the traditional approach to succession planning, which focuses on identifying and developing replacements for specific roles, has become an outdated approach. Today, best-in-class organizations are focusing on developing a pool of leaders, with new skills and competencies to deliver results and meet the needs of the future.
By introducing a disciplined approach to leadership succession planning, your organization can mitigate risks, improve prospects for long-term growth, and realize the following strategic succession planning benefits:
- Positions organizations for the future by defining the required competencies to attain tomorrow’s goals.
- Enables organizations to create and develop their talent bench based on a specific profile of success to meet the needs of the future.
- Creates a common language and tools for the organization to recruit, assess, develop, manage, and select talent.
- Proactively identifies development opportunities in current leaders’ skills and competencies.
- Establishes a process to regularly evaluate talent based on future needs and expectations.
- Enable organizations to create a realistic picture of their succession health and readiness.
What does succession planning entail?
A best-in-class succession planning process is comprised of the following steps:
- Review Strategy and Implications: Start by determining future talent needs based on your business strategy. Smart companies are preparing for volatility, uncertainty, change and ambiguity (VUCA) by recruiting talent with new and different skill-sets to complement, and is some cases replace, current talent.
- Build Future-Focused Talent Model: The talent model serves to drive cultural and leadership development to support the strategy and spans across all talent processes such as recruitment, selection, and performance management.
- Develop Role-Specific Success Profiles: The next step is to develop detailed role profiles which include both behavioral and job competencies as well as leadership expectations, knowledge, skills and experiences required for new and evolving roles.
- Assess Talent: The assessment process enables organizations to select and develop the next generation of leaders who can lead the organization into the future and/or determine if key roles need to be filled with external candidates based on the success profiles. Talent assessments are conducted through performance reviews, psychometric assessments, and 360-feedback.
- Develop Potential: To ensure the greatest impact, organizations implement a development planning process for current and new talent to address any developmental gaps which includes feedback and suggestions for continued development including strategically managing assignments, coaching, and targeted training.
- Monitor and Sustain the Process: The process is continuously evaluated and improved in order to become a consistent part of the organization’s talent management framework. Specific metrics are used to objectively and concretely demonstrate the success of the overall development program as well as successors’ performance.
A strategic succession planning process is guided by the following critical success factors:
- Start from the top down
- Assess organizational readiness for change
- Apply discipline to continually assess and develop talent
- Introduce best practice talent development and management tools
- Understand how to differentiate development techniques for a return on investment
- Encourage prudent risk-taking
- Plan to effectively manage through resistance
A proper succession planning process is necessary to ensure that your organization is adequately capitalizing on its available talent resources to drive the organization to reach its strategic goals. The process identifies the critical success factors for future senior leadership roles, provides a mechanism to assess, select, and develop the next generation of leaders who can lead the organization into the future, and determines if key roles need to be filled with external candidates.
Be on the lookout for our video blog (vlog) next month which will highlight a case example demonstrating an organization’s return on investment utilizing a customized strategic succession planning approach.