The most common question I'm asked by new clients who are focusing on succession planning is: "How do I start?" It's a great question and many clients don’t anticipate the answer I give them:
Start by having a very clear, well-developed strategic plan.
Needless to say, when new clients hear my response, their troubled facial expressions often indicate they are thinking, "She's trying to sell us additional services we really don't need." No, I am not. But I am trying to save you money and time. These days nobody can afford to do a lot of unfocused, wasted work.
Think about it for a minute—what is succession planning?
- Succession planning is not figuring out who is going to step into someone else's position when that person retires.
- Succession planning is really determining what skills, knowledge, behaviors, and values you will need in key positions in the future to ensure your organization continues to grow and succeed according to your strategic plan.
Therefore, doesn't it make sense to have a very clear strategic plan in place so you know what skills, knowledge, behaviors, and values you will need? Then you will be able to determine what key positions you will need. Once you know what positions you'll need, you can develop specific position descriptions that define what skills, knowledge, behaviors, and values the individuals who will fill those key positions must develop or possess.
By focusing on developing the skills, knowledge, behaviors, and values of individuals who may move into key positions, you will, by default, create an organization that takes a more holistic approach to succession planning and employee development. Instead of the traditional succession planning process (i.e., plugging a person into an empty spot), you will create a pool of individuals who possess much broader-based skills and knowledge, and who also exhibit the behaviors and values held dear by your organization.
So you see, you can't develop your future leaders and key positions until you know what type of organization you expect them to lead. And you can't plan for succession options until you plan your organization's future.
Succession Planning Reminder:
First determine what you need — a true strategy for success.
Copyright MMVI - Liz Weber, CMC, CSP - Weber Business Services, LLC – www.WBSLLC.com +1.717.597.8890
Liz supports clients with strategic and succession planning, as well as leadership training and executive coaching. Learn more about Liz on LinkedIn!