Essentials of Succession: 3 Easy Steps

I am still feeling the effects of a wonderful trip to Las Vegas and Northern Arizona last week and I thought it might be productive to talk a little more about some of what I shared in my half-day workshop last Wednesday at Paris Las Vegas as part of the Strategic HR Summit for BLR and M Lee Smith Publishers.  I had a great group of professionals from across the country who attended this session and their input and feedback was one of the best components of the day.

Whether you call Succession a “planning or development” activity, it is nonetheless a needed activity for every organization, regardless of the size.  While succession planning may be more common among larger firms, I could make a compelling argument that small to mid-size firms are in greater need than the larger firms because the pool of ready players internally is much smaller in their case.

Whether you are larger or small, there are a few essential steps you must keep in mind in order to be prepared for the future of your firm from a leadership perspective.  Today’s post will cover what I call the “Three Easy Steps” that every firm must engage in if they plan to be prepared.  Let’s get started.

Step 1-Know Thyself

While this may sound more like a line from a Shakespearean play, it also is very important for every firm to know themselves well.  Knowing oneself takes many dimensions; here are a few of them:

  • firm constituency; ages, tenure, skills, talents, experiences
  • what do we do well?
  • what do we want to do better?

These three points just scratch the surface, but they are a good place to start in the succession arena.

Step 2-What is our Goal?

This step includes more than succession, but succession cannot occur without it.  Every firm needs a direction and a vision prior to embarking upon the Succession Planning journey.  How can you know who to prepare and how to prepare them if you do not know where you are going or what you plan to do when you arrive?  This may seem so simple, but because of the simplicity it is often overlooked and you see firms with too many of one thing and not nearly enough of other needed skills and competencies.  While I will not go into the essentials of goal setting in this post, keep in mind that appropriate goals are time based and measurable.  Having this kind of target makes succession work that much more successful.

Step 3-Have someone driving the process

Much of succession revolves around identification and preparation of talent, both internally and externally, but too often firms don’t have someone “in charge” of the process.  I will make some of you mad when I write this, but HR may not be the right function to have in charge of the process.  HR has many key roles in the succession process, but unless your HR leader commands respect from the entire organization and knows the business well, HR can hurt this process more than it can help it.  A senior level, even c-level leader, can make all of the difference if they are respected and committed to succession within the organization.

Three East Steps; Know Thyself, Knowing your Goal and Have a Driver will make all of the difference between glimmering success and dismal failure.

Does this resemble your Succession process?

Tell us more-we enjoy hearing your feedback!