I was the VP of HR for a fairly large organization several years ago when the terrible unexpected happened.You always think, “This can’t be happening to us” only to find that it can and does happen. What is it that happened?
The second in command, who had been brought in to run the company when the founder retired, was killed in a terrible car accident. No one was prepared for the aftermath of that tragedy – especially the owner of the company as he had to regroup and rethink his retirement plans. The rest of the company also had to regroup and come to grip with a terrible loss and uncertainty as to what would happen next.
Can organizations prepare for this type of loss? You can never be fully prepared for a tragic loss, however a succession plan will go a long way in minimizing the effect of loss. The loss in this case was an untimely death, but many organizations today face the risk of losing a seasoned executive through age, retirement, and even hiring away by a competitor. It is therefore important to consider the issue of succession NOW rather than later. This will help with staffing changes and minimal disruption to not only the internal business operations but even to the external marketplace.
There are some key steps an organization can take to set up an effective succession plan.
1. Make sure you have identified the skills and competencies you need in a particular position. This might include the ability to delegate responsibility, think strategically, ability to make decisions, etc. While some think of this step as time-consuming, it is an important first step.
2. Make sure the top management team is on board and directing the plan. A succession plan is only successful if it comes from the top. Remember, some managers may resist establishing a plan and need to brought on board. This may happen by making them an important part of the process.
3. Develop a pool of employees that you can identify that have the potential to grow. The challenge is to find, develop, and encourage these employees. They need to be continually trained and given opportunities to advance. You need to make sure they want the added responsibilities and if not, they should be removed from the pool being considered.
4. Understand and identify skill and knowledge gaps. Work to fill those gaps by determining needs to happen with an individual or individuals to move them into new positions. Help these employees prepare for higher level positions.
5. Encourage employees to be proactive and identify themselves as possible candidates. The individual is the final person to determine availability and capability. When in doubt, ask them.
Don’t be caught unprepared – it can be detrimental to the whole organization.Have a plan and be prepared to keep it current – just in case.
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Helen Tucker says
Thanks, Lola. Very useful info.
Actually we always think as you said: “This can’t be happening to us” . But we are wrong. And I think that such situations happen not only in business but in other areas too.
Chris Young says
Great suggestions for developing a succession planning strategy Lola! I have shared them with my readers in my Rainmaker ‘Fab Five’ blog picks of the week (found here: http://www.maximizepossibility.com/employee_retention/2010/08/the-rainmaker-fab-five.html ) so they may use them to improve on this important element of strategic talent management.
This is really helpful. You never think something like that will happen to your business and when it does, well that could be the end of you unless you’re well prepared and have come up with a back up plan. Interesting stuff!
Tommy Liano says
I realli like an appreciate advices number 4 and 5. I think that it’s necessary to be open to others and be ready to get knowledge.
And I also think that the best way to encourage others is to be the best in your niche.
Thanks for the post, Lola.
Mark Stelzner says
Great post Lola. I often find that it’s this unfortunate and unexpected type of tragedy that drives home the necessity for succession planning. We can’t control fate but we can control our plans for it’s unexpected hand.
One other thing to consider in developing this type of plan – money. If we are talking about highly ranking employees the employeer should have significant life insurance coverage (key man insurance) that lists the business as the beneficiary. This gives the business time to adjust and implement all the policies being discussed in this article.
Van Hire Manchester says
Succession Planning is very important. It helps in meeting future shortcomings. If we already have prepared plan for coming time, it helps in coping up any accident. Employers should communicate regularly with employees & should discuss plans with them & encourage them to participate & put before their ideas. The article you posted is very good. It is giving meaningful information. Thanks for sharing this post. It will help employers in making succession planning effectively. Keep It Up !!
The article you posted is very good! I really appreciate your advices they are really helpful! Succession Planning is very important in many domains not just in this one. I’m not kind of expert but if i learn from your posts i could be!
I agree with Your point of view. Succession planning is something we definitely need.
This good effort, but a large firm should have a contingency planning for some kind of incidents or accidents.
Yes We Need Succession Planning, without a plan it’s hard to be success. and these 5 points which you have explained are really helps to lead success.
Great article. I think it’s good practice to define the goals ahead of time so that it’s easier to review if they’re met and expectations are very clear. I was actually just working on the importance of succession planning meanwhile got this good article to read.