Expecting the unexpected is a great philosophy of life and business.  You may feel good about your organization’s overall strategy, the work you’ve done over the last year and how the future is shaping up. But unless you’re planning for expected and unexpected changes in your personnel, your organization is at risk.

Key positions can find themselves suddenly vacated for any number of reasons.  And because they are key positions, they need to be filled promptly, efficiently, and smoothly, yet in a way that ensures the organization’s long-term prosperity.  This is only possible if a succession planning strategy has been successfully implemented already. The minute you need one is the minute it’s already too late to develop one.

This HBR blog from 2009 contains four valuable tips for developing an approach to succession planning. Among these is the following idea: “Change the name of the process from succession planning to succession development.”  Planning to develop talent is not the same as developing talent.  Organizations tend to get bogged down in planning processes, but active development and retention of internal talent is crucial. The necessary procedures and paperwork that attend these goals should be tools, not obstacles, in the actual goal of mentorship and succession development.

This piece from HRCouncil.ca lays out five steps a larger organization should take when developing a succession planning strategy.  The steps are:

  1. Identify the essential roles in your organization.  A succession plan should be established for these roles.
  2. Define your present and future needs as clearly as possible, in order to clarify organizational priorities.
  3. Prepare a chart of all key positions.
  4. Anticipate gaps: Who is likely to retire? What new positions will be needed in a 21st-century marketplace?  What skills will those positions require?
  5. With the knowledge gained from steps 1 to 4, analyze current staff and identify those with the skills, experience, and, frankly, ambition needed to assume increasingly senior responsibilities.

Think about it. Succession planning is important, and we can help.

Signed,

Heather-Phelps

 

Thanks for reading,

Heather

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