Succession planning is part of human resources ( HR ) management and should not be conducted during a crisis. Hence do not wait until a leader is planning to leave.
1. Credible forecast analysis
According to Forbes, in leadership succession, GE has done a good job of looking “through the windshield” rather than “in the rear-view mirror” to understand the leadership skills required of the next CEO.
2. Developing internal and external resources
Investing about two to four years to develop an executive can be very beneficial to an organization. This could involve rotating the individual in various functional areas, taking on international assignments or spearheading a division.
Both the former CEO of Starbucks, Jim Donald and the CEO of Cisco Systems, John Thomas Chambers landed their CEO position in this manner.
3. CEO and directors should be on board
The CEO and board of directors have to be fully involved and committed in this process. This is not an initiative of the HR department.
There should be regular reviews between the CEO and the next successor and taking accountability for responsibility.
4. Use business strategy as a benchmark
There should be a good reason for your succession planning and this can be accomplished by aligning the plan with your business strategy.
By “connecting the dots”, an organisation can give coherent explanation that ties to the need for succession planning based on the business case of the organisation or the outcome of not doing it.
5. Focus on all levels
Your approach to talent development should cross all levels of the organisation. It should not be confined to just certain positions or levels. You may never know where you will find the next CEO and sometimes, the result could be pleasantly suprising.
6. Be realistic
Development plans and ideas are not promises but most of the time, they are communicated in such a way that frustrates potential candidates.
If your organisation wants diversity in leadership, then succession planning should also look into promoting women employees and minorities.
8. Keep political and emotional aspects at bay
The process of successions planning may invite many political, irrational and emotional outbursts from the succession planning team and those around them. It can sometimes come from the CEO who is having difficulty “letting go” or from team members who have their own personal agenda.
It’s crucial for these elements to be managed tactfully without being influenced by emotional and political feelings.
Prema jayabalan from Leaderonomics