Who is my successor?
A question that is fundamental to sustainable growth
It’s remarkable how many companies I observe that hire reactively.
Of course, a focus on the present to meet revenue, profit and broader operational goals is imperative. But carving out time for longer-term planning, especially future leadership is imperative.
In this Scaling Success newsletter, as we approach the calendar year-end, I thought it would be useful to reflect on succession planning for our own roles and pose a number of questions.
1: Succession planning needs to be an ongoing process with clear objectives. It’s not a reactive plan when someone senior leaves or retires. Ensuring your plan covers all levels means there are no significant gaps in your talent pipeline and it demonstrates to your people, and to potential hires, that leadership is of the highest priority.
Q: How can you instil a greater focus on succession planning? Where have you been caught by surprise in the past and what did you learn from this?
2: Have you stress-tested your plan? Do you know what impact a sudden departure at a senior level might have on your organisation and the team around them? Don't assume succession planning is solely the responsibility of the HR team. This should be a shared and collaborative effort. Understanding the current and future needs and goals of the business as well as the critical competencies required in your leaders will help to create the most relevant talent pipeline for your business.
Q: How can you empower your HR team as a partner in your succession planning to leverage their skills and experience?
3: Short-term vs divergent thinking
All too often I see organisations rushing to recruit to fill a gap without proper assessment of what they really need long term. When a senior leader leaves a role they may have been in for a while, it's a great opportunity to reassess what the next phase of that role needs to bring to the organisation rather than rush to replace it with more of the same.
Involving external assessments such as those run by sister company NewlandRock can help you forward plan the behaviours, qualities and critical thinking your new leader will need to drive the growth required in this role. Assessing the readiness and potential of those existing and emerging leaders is vital to ensuring an organisation has a solid bench, ready to absorb any unplanned departures.
Q: What resources and investment have you allocated to ensuring you have complete clarity over what you need for the future development of your critical roles?
4: Poorly handled discussions, overlooking internal candidates leads to resentment and weak retention
Do you only succession plan for those senior roles in your organisation? Ensuring you have a top-down or bottom-up, strategy for development ensures individuals feel valued and prepared for the challenges a future role may offer. One company I worked for had a long-term strategy where they profiled all their key executives and mapped their capabilities and gaps. They aimed to plan where each executive was destined to progress for their next two to three moves. This gave them longevity and consistency in their approach and ensured their team felt appreciated.
Q: How much talent planning are you doing with your existing people? Where are the gaps and what development needs are you investing in to create a more viable succession plan?
What are your thoughts on this topic?
To your continued success,
For more help and advice on building a strong succession plan into your growth strategy contact me at BartonRock
Guy Day is the Founder of BartonRock, the executive search partner for digitally transforming companies in consumer and retail.
We manage the careers of leaders whose know-how and commercial acumen within digital steers the strategic direction and future survival of companies.
For more information visit: www.bartonrock.com or contact email@example.com
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