7 Rules to Create a Successful Succession Plan

July 18, 2018 | Beth Thornton

Executive level employees all leave their companies at some point, regardless of whether it’s due to retirement, resignation or poor health. Turnover among global CEOs has been reaching record levels, and each year about 10% to 15% of corporations must appoint a new CEO. If you are among the companies not happy with the impact of your succession planning process, you are not alone. Here are 7 practical ideas to help you get more out of your organization's succession planning efforts.

Take a proactive approach to your succession strategy

It can take time for your company to find and prepare a promising candidate for a leadership role. This makes it important not to push this part of the process off until a later date. According to Gallup, 87% of Millennials say development opportunities are important in a job. Even if you don’t think you’ll need a replacement any time soon, prepping someone to take over an important position in your company creates an invaluable safety net for the company while engaging employees at all levels.

Are you prepared to replace executives? Offering constant and constructive #feedback to prospects is just one aspect of a productive #SuccessionPlan. Learn more from @inspiresoftware:Tweet this!

Simplicity is key

With so many variables, it’s easy to overthink the succession planning process of your company. You may find yourself adding excessively complex assessment criteria to your company’s succession planning process in an effort to improve the quality of the assessment. Since the planning process is only the first step in development, it doesn’t need to be perfect. 81% of employers are using some form of software to help organize and simplify their succession planning process. More sophisticated assessments can be built into the development process and administered by a potential candidate’s coach or mentor.

Offer constant and constructive feedback

Did you know 69% of employees say they would work harder if they felt their efforts were better recognized? When someone exceeds expectations on a project or outperforms on their own goals, make note of it. Keep track of these achievements so you have something to reference the next time a management position opens. Keeping notes of achievements also provides useful information to note during performance reviews.

Focus on measurable outcomes

Many leaders within organizations prefer to focus on what gets measured and rewarded, rather than the process. If leadership development is not enough of a priority for the company to establish goals and track progress against those goals, it will be difficult to make any succession planning process work. In 2016, only 7% of companies had accelerated development programs for Millennials, but 44% said they were making progress on development for Millennials. Most importantly, results will help guide future efforts and mid-course corrections.

87% of #Millennials say development opportunities are important in a job. What kind of development opportunities do you have in place? @InspireSoftwareTweet this!

Be realistic with your strategy

While succession plans are important to develop and implement, keeping your strategy in check is just as important. It’s easy to fall into a cycle of putting too much emphasis on rapid development, which can easily lead to burnout and frustration. Succession planning should be geared towards helping employees reach their potential, and assisting them in closing any necessary gaps in their skill set.

Understand and implement your company’s vision

Include potential successors in strategy conversations to help them acquire planning and leadership skills, as well as a broad vision of the organization and its objectives. The vision and mission clearly indicate where your company intends on heading. If you stress the importance of core values and the mission of the company with potential leaders early on, it is likely they will adapt to the leadership role quickly.

Use your succession plan throughout your organization

Did you know 80% of CEO appointees have never served in a chief executive role before? This means your organization probably has executive-level talent ready to be developed. The advantage to succession planning is it isn’t a single purpose strategy. Not only does this type of strategy apply to every aspect of your organization, it can also be adapted to your hiring process! Once you have clear goals set for the type of leaders you want running your organization in the future, it becomes much easier to hire candidates that fit that description.

Succession planning doesn’t have to be a difficult process. While it takes time, succession planning is one variable that will assist in the long-term growth of your organization. Subscribe to our newsletter for more tips on succession planning and leadership development tactics!


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