Why Your Company Should Be Thinking About Succession Planning

Succession Planning is a hot topic in the news today. But despite the hype, there appears to be little action about it.

I have to admit that when I am talking to various business leaders they are very quick to point out that they do have a succession plan in place (67% of the organisations world-wide do not!). The challenge though that most are facing is how to implement that plan. It is awesome to see organisations identify successors for key roles, but it is disappointing to see that they are not sure what to do next.

Do we call it succession planning or is it more appropriately succession development? I realise that this could just be a play on words, but for me it seems to make sense. I think I can simplify this for us all! Succession planning is all about creating “the plan.” The identification of the key roles we want successors identified for and the identification of potential successors. There are obviously a few other tasks that we would add into the plan but it is all about creating “the plan.”

Succession development is all about the implementation of “the plan.” This is where we work with the successor to prepare them for their new role, we work out the knowledge transfer piece and we figure out what the learning plan needs to contain in order to close any competency gaps that may exist. After all, we want this person to be successful in their new role.

In my conversation with some business people lately the succession development piece is definitely a short fall at this stage. We have also talked about how we would get all of this to take place and ironically the topic of mentoring came up. It is reassuring that so many senior business people believe in the “power of mentoring” and see that as a means to implement a succession plan and as a key enabler in the succession development process.

As your organisation starts to deal with ageing workforce and talent shortage challenges and you begin to succession plan for the future, make sure that you leverage the “power of mentoring” as the enabler to a successful succession development implementation.