Succession planning is a process of identifying and developing potential leaders for business-critical positions. A critical question posed at every succession planning discussion is the profile of the future leader to lead the organisation. We encourage organisation to rethink the assumption that the current best performer will automatically become the future leader. Based on our work, we have found that in addition to competence, future leaders need to demonstrate ‘Integrity’ to win the trust of employees and stakeholders, ‘Judgement’ to make the right decisions and ‘Boldness in Visioning’ to determine the way forward.
Development of identified successors is critical. However, we find this part of the exercise does not get due attention. Malcolm Gladwell, a leading executive coach wrote in a HBR blog, that there is a need to change the name from Succession Planning to Succession Development. We too believe that the focus has to move beyond planning and charting to taking serious action to systematically develop successors. We firmly believe organisations need to measure outcomes and not the planning process.
We work with organisations to put in place realistic plans to develop successors who can deliver. We focus on helping the identified successors understand their blind spots and build on their strengths. We also suggest ways an organisation can engage the successors to build the psychological contract, to minimise loss to competition.