Succession planning for every level of your organization

Succession planning, as defined by, is "a process whereby an organization ensures that employees are recruited and developed to fill each key role within the company. Through your succession plan process; you recruit superior employees, develop their knowledge, skills, and abilities; and prepare them for advancement or promotion into evermore challenging roles." No problem!

I liked this definition of succession planning because it started with recruiting, not with employees. I think we understand the “why” in succession planning. But as with many other ideas, the “how” or execution is the real challenge.

To truly be successful at all levels of succession planning, you must understand what the key roles and, of course, the vision and organizational objectives of your company are. Culture and values are important as well.

Consider using a 9 Box Grid for succession planning. This is a tool used to evaluate and assign an employee’s potential and performance. The general idea is to determine an employee’s potential in their current and future roles, including leadership. Employees might be high performers in their current position, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re the right person for the next job or are even interested.

Using the 9 Box Grid and other assessments will help take the guess work out of deciding who the future leaders of the company are and where they might come from. You’ll need to customize these tools and analyze the organization’s talent to distill the most successful attributes of your top employees. Once you identify those qualities and skills, you can train your organizations to take much of the bias out of the decision making process. That’s a big step toward actively managing who will lead and drive the organization’s current and future successes.

Succession planning is important not just for high-profile roles, but for positions at every level of your organization. The reason being that every employee at every level of your organization has an impact on its performance. If they don't, you should probably take a second look.

Great people have goals. They want to be successful and recognized, make more money, or have better lives, more power, or responsibility. Add as many as you like to the list. At the end of the day, the process is just the tool. It drives and facilitates the strategic planning.

If you don't have a clear picture of what it takes to recruit, hire, manage, measure, and promote high performance and leaders, then you are just crossing your fingers and hoping for

This post was written by Doug Lubin, a successful Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) Practice Leader and Consultant, who brings over a decade of expertise building sustainable solutions for clients and partners.  Doug helps firms develop high performing talent acquisition and management strategies locally and globally.  Learn more about Doug.

the best. And hope is not a strategy.


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