Leadership and Succession Planning

Leadership and Succession Planning

Succession Planning, or what we refer to as a management resource planning and review system, formalizes, strengthens, and lends priority to the planning of succession and development alternatives for current and future executives of a company. The review process is the primary vehicle for the planning of executive and leadership continuity and development. An organization is not static. It is a dynamic business in a changing industry and environment. Having information about present work requirements, individual job performance, and immediate replacement plans provide only a one-dimensional picture. To make the picture more complete, future work requirements and insight into how the market and the organization will change in the near term is necessary in order to craft a clearer picture of the key issues to be resolved, including both the present and future state of leadership along with retention and diversity issues.

Our approach to succession planning is practical and systematic. The Key Issues we work to resolve are as follows:

  1. PRESENT STATE - What is the present state of leadership in your organization? Is there adequate coverage for each of your key positions?
  2. FUTURE STATE - How will your organization change and what are the implications for future positions? What skill gaps exist that will impact the future state of your business?
  3. RETENTION ISSUES - What retention issues does your business unit face? How are you dealing with them?
  4. DIVERSITY - What is the availability of minority and female candidates in your organization?
  5. ACTION PLAN  - What specific results will you try to achieve during the coming year to improve the strength of the management resource talent pool in your area?







I. Prepare

A. Review of business strategy and implications for position requirements and potential additions, vacancies, etc.

  • What trends outside the organization are likely to affect it in the next one to five years?
  • How well positioned is the organization presently to respond to the effects of future trends?
  • What performance capabilities are needed to carry out the business strategies within the next 3-5 years?
  • How will these business strategies affect organizational structure, decision-making, team relationships, skill requirements, HR processes, and other work systems in the next 3-5 years?
  • What is the current status of the workforce? Is there an adequate supply of the right skills to do business now and in the foreseeable future? Where are the gaps?
  • Are there any new skill sets or talent gaps that require us to pursue external sources to build bench strength?
  • What talent losses are projected to come about as a result of retirements or other sources of employee mobility?
  • What key positions in the organization are likely to emerge in the future?
  • Will old key positions fade in importance while new ones become more important?

B. Review Key Position Requirements:

  • Profile sheet describing key position requirements:            
  • Experience/skills including functional and technical
  • Education/knowledge requirements
  • Competencies
  • Anticipated future changes

C. Employee Profiles

  • Biographical resume on current incumbents and prospective candidates
    - Education/certifications
    - Job history
    - Recent training/development experiences
    - Major accomplishments
  • Evaluation of Capabilities
    - Recent performance evaluations
    - Competency assessment/evaluation
    - Promotion potential and readiness
    - Risk of Loss
    - Likely job moves
    - Strengths/Opportunities for Improvement
  • Individual Career Development Plan
    - Career goals and interests
    - Development needs
    - Action plans

D. Planning for Succession

  • Key Position Requirements
  • Replacement Needs
    - Incumbents
    - Key Position Candidates
    - Diversity Candidates
    - High Potential Candidates

II. Management Resource Review

A. Organization/Leadership Review

B. Succession/Retention Plans

C. Key Talent/Pipeline Review

D. HiPo/Diversity Review

E. Key Findings

III. Follow-up

A. Succession Commitments and Action

  • Specific job changes/rotations that should be implemented
  • Retention strategies
  • Specific development actions for each individual
  • Time frames and accountabilities

B. Action and Follow-up

  • Local management responsible for actions
  • Tracking process
  • Business Unit Profile
  • Succession metrics
    - Overall bench-strength (Number of candidacies)
    - No. of planned development/cross functional/cross company moves
    - No. of undesired high loss risks retained
    - No. of probable vacancies filled as planned
    - Diversity plans achieved
    - % of management with documented development plans
    - Turnover in key positions
    - No. blocked positions "unblocked"
    - No. of hi-potentials staying/leaving
    - Time/$ to fill vacancy
    - Time/$ to move
    - Upper management review and follow-through


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