leaders ensure that key employees are recruited and developed to fill
vital roles within an organization.
This succession process works to make certain that positions are
filled with competent people who have been prepared for advancement.
Having a pool of qualified people not only works to keep an
unbroken flow of leadership, the
training and development of potential leaders
boosts retention because those being groomed stay motivated and engaged.
They understand that the organization is investing in their
Although there are many different pathways for succession
planning, below are some key guidelines to help leaders implement a
successful succession program:
Start early; don’t wait for a crisis to begin a succession program.
Avoid “management on the go” by having a clear succession planning
strategy that fits the organization’s mission and priorities.
Base your succession planning on a sound analysis of needs.
Have a solid understanding of the challenges your team or
business will face in the upcoming years.
Succession planning is a multi-year process.
Don’t think of succession planning as replacing a particular person;
rather see it as filling roles. Focus
on identified responsibilities and practices, not on personalities.
Understand what you mean by “high potentials.”
How do you assess potential leaders? How do you compare and
contrast people within your organization? How do you assess performance?
How does performance in one area translate into performance at an
advanced level? Does the culture of your organization support and
nurture leadership development?
Keep your job descriptions up to date so the roles you must fill are
Involve all key stakeholders in your succession planning.
This includes people who will be influenced when a position
Keep in mind that strategic succession planning is about the
future—the talent, skills, and competencies that your team or
organization needs as it grows and changes
Clearly identify the developmental needs of those individuals you have
targeted for advancement. Then
design developmental activities that will strengthen identified needs.
Design experiences for high potentials that will challenge their
capabilities and allow them to grow.
This may include special assignments, lateral changes, placement
on focused projects, shadow assignments, and participation on new teams.
Give your high potentials a chance to “show their stuff.”
Keep abreast of employment trends in your area so you will be prepared
to compete for difficult positions to fill.
Hold those responsible for identifying and developing future leaders
accountable. Make it a
priority for current leaders to successfully find and develop new
Make certain that your personnel policies will ensure fair and compliant
Balance internal and external hiring.
If you feel your team or organization is stagnant or stalled,
then consider filling positions externally; if you feel your team is on
track and vibrant hire internally.
Take regular assessments of your developmental strategies to make
certain that your developmental practices are actually adequately
preparing new hires.