Succession Planning: A comprehensive guide to build your leadership bench strength

By February 14, 2017Development

Succession planningWhat if the owner of your organization suddenly passes away in a car accident? Have you decided who will take his position? Can you foresee any one from the next generation of leaders ready to fit into that role?

If the answer is no, your company would definitely face a crisis as there may be no potential candidate to take over or you might end up hiring an underqualified person for that role which may severely impact your business in the long run.

The only way to avoid such situations would be to plan a strong succession planning program that identifies and nurtures the next generation of leaders through mentoring, training, and preparing them for the future. A strong succession planning offers leaders a structure and information on how to create a sturdy succession planning program that supports talent management with the vision of the company. It also guarantees that the employees have development opportunities to enhance their leadership skills, and that the organization has a leadership plan in place for success in the future.

Who Needs Succession Planning?

Any organization, irrespective their size, needs succession planning. It may not be necessary that you may always get a potential successor for every role in the company, however cross training employees on various departments might help to find a suitable candidate. Many companies are not familiar with the concept of succession planning in their organizations. Others inform the successors verbally for succession for important roles. But succession planning is significant in the long run in the company life cycle.

There are several advantages especially for you as an employer to prepare for your succession planning exercise. Some of these are as follows:

  • With effective, practical succession planning, your organization is well prepared for all future proceedings. Successful succession planning builds leadership bench strength.
  • With efficient staff whose vision supports the mission and the vision of the company and is eager to accomplish the goals of the organization are assets to the organization, otherwise the loss of a key employee can hamper your ability to accomplish significant objectives.
  • Once the information about skilled and productive employees is shared with managers within the organization, it allows the managers to consider the right candidate for the required job.
  • If you have identified probable employees to step into roles as your company, you are ensured that the company will grow in its offerings and services. Otherwise hiring misfit employees will only obstruct your company growth plans.

Things that may go wrong during your successive planning exercise

  • If the decision making process is in the wrong hands it can impact the future of the organization by taking bias decisions based on favoritism instead of individual capabilities. Leaders should be chosen whose skills and competencies match with the mission and vision of the business.
  • If the succession planning process is kept as a secret, it can lead to sudden disappointments to some candidates and thus by keeping complete clarity and transparency in the process it will give employees time to accept the truth and also explain some employees why they were not considered for a specific role. Hence addressing disappointments between people who feel they could have been on that list is crucial.
  • The final decision should be taken after discussing it with the board of directors, the Human resource department and the CEO, and other senor management so that all are on the same page before the decision is declared and one sided decision making is avoided

You need to be well prepared for any of these!

Every organization has to efficiently integrate leadership development and succession planning systems. This can be done by maximum utilization of managerial resources, identifying potential employees and nurturing them through different projects, assignments and workshops. To ensure that the successive planning is a perfect guide to build your leadership bench strength, your leadership needs should be clearly defined, a pipeline of potential future leaders have to be built and the future leaders have to be trained in a very competent and effective manner.

So how do you intend to go about your succession planning process?

Share with us in the comments below.

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