Succession Planning

Succession can add huge value and mitigate significant risk at an organization.1 To get it right, companies must have a clear picture of where the talent lies, as well as an objective process for finding the best candidate beyond the “heir apparent.”

Many organizations operate with an inherent and pervasive risk: they do not plan effectively for succession relating to their most important roles.2 While retention can be improved, the fact remains that every person will eventually move on in some capacity—making it imperative that organizations plan for the future of their most important roles.

Think of succession as a constant process

Succession planning should be at the heart of any talent strategy. Not only does it protect the organization from experiencing gaps in critical roles, but it also serves as a way to motivate and develop ambitious, high-potential employees to achieve their career aspirations. Succession is not a one-off event; it is a cyclical process. As jobs and people grow and evolve, development and succession decisions should be regularly reconsidered.

Identify mission-critical roles

Good succession planning begins with a sound understanding of the organization’s vision and strategy. The organization can then identify the “mission-critical” roles that form the foundation of its succession plan. Important to note is that while C-suite succession is indeed critical, there are very likely other roles of equal or even greater importance to consider.

Nurture high-potential talent

Next comes the identification of potential talent from within the organization. This needs to involve multiple stakeholders, embracing the philosophy that talent is owned not by a business unit or function, but by the enterprise. Talent must be supported and allowed to grow to its full potential, and be assigned to where it can add the most value to the organization as a whole.

Apply a methodology-based approach

Understanding the demands and characteristics of mission-critical roles is often referred to as “Success Profiling.” Using valid, reliable, and differentiating assessment methodology specifically focused on these Success Profiles helps identify those who can step up to the challenge of the role in question. “Ready now” successors are not always available; thus, an organization must also identify longer-term successors, who may need 2–3 years of targeted development. This process can also alert the organization to the need to consider external candidates where no viable successor is available.

We can help in all parts of the succession-planning process, ensuring organizations have continuity of strategy no matter what happens to key players.

1 McKinsey & Co “The War for Talent”
Russell Reynolds Associates “2021 Global Leadership Monitor”

Speak to a consultant

Partners in Possibility

Get in touch to discover how we can help bring the future into focus - for you, your people, and your business.