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Succession Planning and Development

Succession Planning and Development

Dan McCarthy | Great Leadership

April 16, 2010

The topic of assessing for potential is too big to cover in this summary post, but here are a few posts that go deeper into this topic:

- Guide to Leadership Assessments

- How to Identify Leadership Potential

- Gambling on Leadership Potential

Step 4: The Talent Review

This is that mysterious meeting where all the managers lock themselves in a room and talk about you. Well, actually, you hope they’re talking about you, if you have aspirations to advance. Seriously, having the senior team review the talent of an organization on a regular basis has a lot of benefits, including:

- Multiple inputs provide better assessment of performance and potential

- It encourages shared ownership of talent

- It makes everyone aware of high potential talent

- It promotes sharing of common and/or best practices

- It’s a forum for allocation of limited developmental resources

A common tool to facilitate dialog for this discussion is the use of a performance and potential matrix, otherwise known as “the nine box”.

In a perfect world, these conversations would take place all the time, and you wouldn’t need a formal review. The reality is, unless someone is pushing it and providing process and structure, it won’t happen. The day-to-day business issues will always take priority. The other advantage of having help and process is that it makes it a more efficient and effective use of a senior team’s time.

Step 5: Where the Rubber Hits the Road: Development

Unfortunately, many organizations spend most of their time on steps 1-4 and ignore the actual development of their high potentials. It’s as if once successors or talent pools are identified, they’re going to just magically become ready for new roles.

I’ve even heard of organizations that treat succession planning and leadership development as two separate activities, often having different functions responsible for them.

The best organizations and leaders don’t even pause for a breadth before they move right from identification of high potentials to development. Best practices for development include new jobs, stretch assignments, coaching, and formal programs. These plans are often documented, discussed, and tracked as a part of an individual development plan (IDP).

Step 6: Monitor and Measure Results If you did a good job with step one, then you’ll have a good idea what to measure and track. There are two types of measures: results and activities. Results could include # of key positions filled by internal candidates and number of successors/pools and readiness (bench strength). Activities could include progress and completion of IDPs.

I hope this helps demystify succession planning and development and provides a roadmap to guide your efforts. For more, stay tuned for that e-book ($19.95, with a money-back satisfaction guarantee).

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