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Succession Planning – better without the ion?

Posted by Meg Bear on November 18, 2008


9box

Those of us who follow the Talent Management investment curves, know that Performance Management and Succession Planning are the hot trends right now. Companies are attempting to leverage their workforce as a competitive advantage and both of these areas had technology innovations in recent years.

Of course, as is often the case with trends, there are companies that have a plan first and leverage technology to solve it, and there are companies who start with a solution and attempt to figure out the problem.

This leads to many wanting to call into question the whole idea. Laurie is absolutely right that succession planning has some challenges and she gives some ideas how to make it an effective use of your time (my paraphrase).

Personally, I think that the point of succession planning is really not for succession at all. Most often C-suite changes are made when a company needs to “fix” something. When this is the case, companies will most likely want to look outside the four walls for new ideas.

Succession planning is useful in the case of a long known retirement (Gates, Welch, etc.). Of course, planned retirement-based successions are often exceptions, especially in North America. In an attempt to avoid having people throw out the baby with the bathwater I would like to suggest that you still need succession planning for two key reasons

  • Developing bench strength – In my mind, here is where the real value can be had. If you look at your succession initiative as a broader discussion about bench strength and development alignment, you can get a lot bigger ROI for the exercise. Using a succession discussion to analyze several layers of your organization against readiness, can help you build development plans, define workforce planning initiatives and bring to light top talent within your organization.

So for those who wonder what all the hype is in succession planning, I encourage you to take a longer view of the process than just the tactical (or the competitive) approach. Use this emerging trend to help you to provide more value to the strategic needs of the company. Don’t just plan for succession, plan for success.

4 Responses to “Succession Planning – better without the ion?”

  1. Amy Wilson said

    It took me a few minutes to figure out what succession planning had to do with chemistry, but then I realized you were referring to radical ions that are reactive and unstable. Get rid of those!

    Really, it did take me awhile. Success-ful post!

  2. Laurie said

    Oh snap this is so awesome. Great post (& not just because you link to me). I totally endorse the long-view.

  3. Meg Bear said

    @Amy I’m all about making you think (good role reversal)
    @Laurie – I’m getting endorsement t-shirts made

  4. […] been thinking a bit too much these days, and the current topic is Succession planning.  I mentioned awhile back that I was under the impression that the concept of Succession Planning was too […]

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